External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who had an informal meeting on Thursday night with the Pakistani premier's key foreign policy aide Sartaj Aziz, said that India expressed its desire to proceed with talks only if there are right atmospherics.
    
"We told him (Aziz) that in view of the wish of the people for positive talks, there has to be a conducive atmosphere. Whenever a high-level talk process is on, the atmosphere should be good," he told reporters.
    
Khurshid, who is in Bishkek for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, said, "If there is a lack in atmospherics, there is a need to correct things to proceed. But if things are not sorted, then difficulties are faced."
    
Stressing the need for peace along the border, Khurshid said that the ceasefire on the Line of Control must be respected.
    
"That is also part of the atmosphere. If there is no peace and tranquility on the border and LoC, then all our efforts go waste frankly," he said.
    
Aziz said that he conveyed to Khurshid Pakistan's disappointment that the bilateral peace process was derailed by the August 6 incident, in which five Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed while on patrol on the LoC.
    
He said that he had good talks with Khurshid and ‘diplomatic channels will continue to facilitate talks’ between Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month.

"Nawaz Sharif invited Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Lahore and now that he is back, he wants to take things forward from 1999," Aziz said.
    
Pakistan has been pushing for a meeting between the Prime Ministers in New York. India has been non-committal on the meeting.
    
Relations between the two countries soured after Indian soldiers were killed along the LoC. Both sides have accused each other of violating the truce along the LoC.
    
Referring to the LoC truce, Khurshid said, "That is the most critical confidence building and the most critical commitment, which has been made by both countries and both have to live up to it, which is that there must be peace on the Line of Control and peace on the border."
    
The ceasefire, Khurshid said, is a ‘basic fundamental ingredient of confidence’ between the two countries and the truce and the LoC ‘must be respected.’
    
"Of course we talked about what can be done. I have emphasized that the mechanism in place...should be used more effectively. Let us see beyond that how one can examine and how things will shape up. We still have a few days."
    
Aziz hoped that the ‘existing mechanism is utilized to the full extent to ensure that the ceasefire is not violated.’ He said that Pakistan too has suffered in the ceasefire violations.
    
Quoting UN figures, he said that seven Pakistani soldiers had lost their lives along the border.

(Agencies)

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