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Pakistan blames India for lack of progress in talks

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday that India’s “selective” approach to issues has led to what analysts say is a stalemate in talks aimed to build trust shattered by the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldier opens a gate at the border with Pakistan near Jammu, February 24, 2010. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

Qureshi and his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna met in Islamabad on Thursday and agreed on more talks but failed to announce any concrete measures that might soothe tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

“I could see from yesterday’s talks that they want to be selective. When they say all issues are on the table then they cannot, they should not, be selective,” Qureshi told reporters after attending a ceremony for new diplomats in Islamabad.

“Progress in talks can only be possible if we move forward on all issues in tandem.”

He said that there had been no resistance from the Pakistani side in the talks.

Security remains India’s top concern after the attack on Mumbai by Pakistani militants, which killed 166 people. After Thursday’s talks, Krishna repeated New Delhi’s call for Islamabad to speed up efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

India blames Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants for the attacks, and in remarks published in an Indian newspaper on Wednesday, Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai accused Pakistan’s main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of orchestrating the assault.

India has linked the relaunching of peace talks between the two South Asian rivals with Pakistan’s action against the perpetrators of the attack.

But Qureshi warned against India’s attitude.

“If we give heed to those issues which they consider important and those issues in which Pakistan is interested are neglected then things cannot move forward,” he said.

“They have to sit with an open mind and we have to move forward with an open heart.”

Pakistan wants discussions on other issues, including its core dispute with India over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, the cause of two of the three wars between the two countries since independence from Britain in 1947.

He said Pakistan is still ready for talks with India but will wait for a sign from India.

“We’re ready to engage. We’re ready for negotiations anytime, anywhere but we’re not in hurry,” Qureshi said.

Analysts say India wants to use the issue of terrorism as a way to keep international pressure on Pakistan.

“They have come to a conclusion that everything is being done against them by the ISI and that policy is not going to change unless there’s total pressure,” political and security analyst Hassan Askari Rizvi said.

But he feared that this policy would favor the cause of al Qaeda-linked militants who want instability in the region.

“That’s what militants want: That India and Pakistan should not be on good terms and if they’re on good terms there will be pressure on militants,” he said.

Additional reporting by Augustine Anthony; Editing by Chris Allbritton