Hina Khar calls for talks with Khurshid

Indo Asian News Service

Islamabad, Jan 17 (IANS) Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has called for talks with her Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid, saying that continued tension along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir region was not in the interest of South Asian peace.

Stating that Pakistan had gone out of the way to build constructive relationship with India, Khar said Wednesday night: "We have invested hugely in the dialogue process and have worked energetically to keep the dialogue process moving forward in a sustained and constructive manner."

"Instead of issuing belligerent statements by the military and political leaders from across the border and ratcheting up tension," Khar said, "it is advisable for the two countries to discuss all concerns related to Line of Control (LoC) with a view to reinforcing respect for the ceasefire, may be at the level of the foreign ministers to sort out things."

"Continued tension along the LoC is not in the interest of peace and stability in the region," Associated Press of Pakistan quoted her as saying in a statement issued in New York.

"Pakistan and India are both important countries of South Asia. It is imperative that they demonstrate requisite responsibility for ensuring peace by addressing all concerns through dialogue," she said.

She said rhetoric and ratcheting up of tensions was "certainly counter-productive".

On recent statements from Indian side, Khar said: "We are saddened and disappointed at the continued negative statements emanating from India both from the media as well as certain Indian leaders."

She said Pakistan had observed a measured and deliberate self-restraint in public statements on India. "This has been done keeping in view the interest of peace in the region.

Ties between the two neighbours have been strained ever since the Jan 6 killing of a Pakistani soldier allegedly in firing by Indian troops. Two days later, Pakistani soldiers brutally killed two Indian soldiers, including beheading one of them, on the LoC.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that there can be "no business as usual" with Pakistan following the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers.

Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh termed the killing of the Indian soldiers "an unpardonable act" and said his forces reserved the "right to retaliate".