Islamabad, Aug 9: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday sought to assuage feelings in India by expressing "sadness" over the recent incidents on the LoC and "loss of precious human lives" and said would discuss steps to further build trust when he meets his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New York next month.
Chairing a meeting at the Foreign Office to review tensions in the wake of the killing of five Indian soldiers, Sharif said Pakistan and India should take effective steps to restore the ceasefire along the Line of Control.
However, a statement issued by the Foreign Office made no reference to Tuesday's incident in which Indian soldiers were killed by "specialist troops" of the Pakistan Army.
"It was imperative for both India and Pakistan to take effective steps to ensure and restore ceasefire on the LoC," Sharif said.
He further said it is "incumbent upon the leadership of both sides not to allow the situation to drift and to take steps to improve the atmosphere by engaging constructively with a view to building trust and confidence".
As Prime Minister Singh has come under pressure from the BJP not to hold talks with Sharif, the Pakistani Premier said he was looking forward to the meeting with Singh in New York during which he intends to discuss steps to further build trust and consolidate the bilateral relationship.
Relations between the two sides soured this week after the killing of the five Indian soldiers. Indian Defence Minister A K Antony said in parliament today "specialist troops of the Pakistan Army were involved in the attack" and a "group from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir side crossed the LoC and killed" the Indian soldiers.
Pakistan has already denied its troops were involved in the incident. It has also said two of its soldiers were injured in firing across the LoC.
Sharif was briefed by Foreign Ministry officials on the situation. During the briefing, Sharif emphasised that "existing military-to-military channels could be more optimally utilised to prevent misunderstanding and not allowing the situation to escalate".
"Pakistan is prepared to discuss steps with India for further strengthening of existing mechanisms both at the political and military levels," he was quoted as saying in the statement issued by the Foreign Office.
Sharif reiterated Pakistan's resolve to "persist in its efforts to improve relations with India through a constructive dialogue on all issues".
Information Minister Pervez Rashid, Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security, Tariq Fatimi, Special Assistant to the premier on Foreign Affairs, and other senior officials attended the meeting.