Pakistan calls for talks with India to build trust

Pakistan calls for talks with India to build trust

Islamabad: Pakistan called on Monday for “sustained and meaningful" dialogue with India after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said a trust deficit was the main obstacle in ties between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Speaking at a news conference in New Delhi, Singh said India was willing to discuss all outstanding issues with Pakistan but “the trust gap is (the) biggest problem."

Pakistan said it agreed that mistrust should be dispelled.

“Obviously, there is a mutual trust deficit and we need to build trust between our two countries on solid foundations so that our two countries and our people can live in peace and prosperity," said Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit.

“To this end, Pakistan looks forward to a sustained and meaningful engagement with India with a view to free our relations from all disputes and conflicts."

Relations between the neighbours, who have fought three wars since 1947, went into a freeze after Pakistan-based militants attacked Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people.

But Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani met on the sidelines of the SAARC summit last month and agreed to get talks going again to tackle their disputes.

For India, the main issue in its relations with Pakistan is security, with militants, who India says are backed by Pakistan, attacking Indian security forces in the Kashmir region and launching attacks in Indian cities.

Pakistan says the core dispute is over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which both countries claim in full but rule in part.

Talking to leaders of Pakistan-ruled Kashmir, Gilani said his government remained committed to a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Kashmir dispute.

“There is an imperative need to end the long legacy of hostility and distrust and to work towards a peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir," from prime minister’s office quoted him as saying in a statement.

Pakistan would continue to support the “just cause" of Kashmiri people, he said.

India accuses Pakistan of training and sending militants across their border in Kashmir to fight Indian rule.