New Delhi, Nov 15 : Terming the recent thaw in India-Pakistan relations as a “positive sign” and a “good breakthrough”, Defence Minister A K Antony today said one should not expect a “miracle” out of it.
“At the moment we find positive signs in relations with Pakistan in areas of economic cooperation. There is a real breakthrough, its a beginning,” he told reporters here on the sidelines of Fifth South Asia Conference. “There are positive signs for a breakthrough but one should not expect a miracle out of it,” he said. On the scope of expanding ties with Pakistan, he said, “The recent discussion of our Prime Minister had with his Pakistani counterpart during the SAARC summit had some positive signals.”
Pakistan had recently announced that it would grant India the status of Most Favored Nation (MFN) to better trade ties between the two neighbours. India had granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996, but Islamabad had been reluctant on various grounds to reciprocate.
During the recently held SAARC summit in Maldives, the two sides agreed to push a host of initiatives, including the revival of the joint commission, a preferential trade agreement and liberal visa regime.
Antony told the Conference that there was need for collective and innovative measures to counter the menace of terrorism.
“Terrorism continues to be a menace for civilised nations and societies the world over. Increasingly, non-state actors with cross-national linkages pose critical challenges. Nations need to draw up collective and innovative measures to effectively counter such evil designs,” he said.
Holding that "only alternative to cooperation is to perish", Antony said, "We pay special attention to defence cooperation by increasing the frequency of defence exchanges with defence forces from a large number of friendly countries."
India, he said, has recently signed strategic partnership agreements with Afghanistan and other neighbouring countries."India signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan. Similarly, a Framework Cooperation Agreement has been drawn up with Bangladesh. Our relations with Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka have been strengthened through exchange of high level visits and expansion of cooperation," he added. PTI