India should take a “bold initiative” to resolve the Siachen dispute that has been lingering for 23 years on the world’s highest battleground,Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said.
Khar called on India to show “flexibility” and meet Pakistan “half way” in normalising relations and resolving “core issues” like the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan wants the amicable solution to all disputes with India,including the Kashmir issue,through dialogue,Khar said told reporters after addressing a conference of Indian and Pakistani businessmen here.
Khar referred to the avalanche that hit a high-altitude Pakistan Army camp in the Siachen sector and buried 139 people under snow last month and said the two countries had “23 years of lost opportunities” to resolve the standoff on the Himalayan glacier.
She said Pakistan had suffered heavy human losses in Siachen and it wants India to take a “bold initiative” to resolve the issue along with other outstanding issues between the two countries.
“Kashmir is the core issue. However,Pakistan was willing to solve the Siachen dispute back in 1989 when (then premiers) Benazir Bhutto and Rajiv Gandhi met. Today there has been no change in our stance on Siachen. There cannot be a military solution to any of our problems,” Khar said.
“We welcome India to meet us half-way,” Khar said in a speech that dwelt on the reasons why the approach adopted by the two countries over the past six decades had not worked.
Her comments came after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari during his recent visit to New Delhi requested India for mutual withdrawal of troops from the Siachen area after it suffered heavy casualties in the avalanche.
The current Pakistan government,Khar said,had shown “vision and foresight to venture into what was believed to be a no-go area for 45 years” by boosting trade with India.
Greater trade would help India and Pakistan to reach a position where they “can talk to each other comfortably” and have confidence in each other that would make problem-solving “an inevitability”,Khar said.
“We look forward to seeing the same flexibility,the same venturing into the no-go area from India,” Khar remarked.
“In Pakistan today,there is across-the-board consensus that war is not an option between two nuclear powers. The only option on the table is to resolve our differences and disputes on the negotiating table,” Khar said.
“Wars,propaganda and international lobbying have not gotten us to what we believe to be the promised land. They will not get us to the promised land. Our vision of the promised land has to change,” Khar said.
“We cannot expect good things for Pakistan and ill for India. Indians cannot expect good things for India and ill for Pakistan…It is illogical and it is without historic precedent and it is at the root of our common history of a lack of peace and tranquillity and sustained pervasiveness of poverty and deprivation in both countries,” she added.