Srinagar, July 26 (ANI): Asserting that it is necessary for both India and Pakistan to realize that one does not gain anything through an acrimonious debate or a slanging match, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Thursday said both Asian neighbours have everything to gain from people-to-people contact.
Krishna called upon both India and Pakistan to be more realistic and appreciative of each other's intentions.
"It is necessary for both India and Pakistan to realize that we do not gain anything in conducting an acrimonious debate, a slanging match. On the other hand, we have everything to gain from people of both the countries, that if we can be more realistic and if we can be more understanding, if we can be more appreciative of each other's intent," he said.
Krishna, who was here to inaugurate the Passport Seva Kendras in Jammu and Kashmir in his speech, said it has been the consistent policy of India to engage Pakistan.
"I think the people-to-people engagement is an ongoing one. The Wagah border, it has been liberalized. There is greater trade between our two countries now," he added.
Krishna also reiterated Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's view that 'we can choose our friends, but we cannot choose our neighbours'.
"And when you have a neighbour, sometimes it may be a very difficult proposition to make them see things in the same perspective, in the same background, as we look at things, international developments or bilateral developments for that matter," he added.
Krishna also recalled Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to India in April this year during which he invited the Prime Minister to visit Islamabad.
"Very recently President Zardari was in India. He came here to offer prayers in Ajmer and the Prime Minister took the opportunity of inviting him for a luncheon meeting. All of us were there and it was one of the most cordial meetings," said Krishna.
"And the invitation, which he extended to the Prime Minister to come to Pakistan to visit the place of his birth, which he has not visited. And I think that was a very touchy invitation. And I hope some day the Indian Prime Minister will be able to travel to Pakistan," he added.
The talks that were held between Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Zardari then was constructive and held in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility with both sides expressing satisfaction.
Krishna, who is expected to visit Pakistan in September to review the second round of the bilateral dialogue with his counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar, further said that he looks forward to his Islamabad visit.
"Last year, when the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar came to Delhi as my guest and then she was quite candid, quite frank. And she conveyed to me the desire that there has been a change in the mindset of Pakistan towards the relationship with India. And she repeatedly said this only in private, but reiterated it in public, to the media also," said Krishna.
"And since then every step either Pakistan has taken or India has taken has been fully complementary to the kind of sentiments that the Foreign Minister of Pakistan expressed when she came to Delhi," he added.
Krishna will review the dialogue process, which resumed last year after a gap of over two years in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks during his visit to Pakistan.
Both Krishna and Khar are expected to prepare the framework for the third round of the resumed dialogue.
India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since their independence from British rule in 1947, have been slowly trying to repair relations and agreed to resume formal peace talks broken off in the wake of the Mumbai attack in 2008. (ANI)