Srinagar, July 26 (IANS) There is a positive change in the mindset of Pakistani people vis-a-vis relations with India, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Thursday, citing his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar.
Khar made the remark in a recent meeting, said Krishna, after electronically inaugurating the Jammu Passport Sewa Kendra (PSK) and laying the foundation-stone of the Passport Bhavan here, along with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
He also mentioned about the cordial meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at New Delhi when Zardari came to India to visit the famous Sufi shrine at Ajmer.
Stressing improved trade relations and people-to-people contact between the two countries, he said he is looking forward to his upcoming visit to Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Union New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah also batted for good India-Pakistan relations and sustained dialogue. He said resolution of all issues through talks is the only way forward.
Wishing Krishna a very successful and fruitful Pakistan visit in September, Omar Abdullah reaffirmed the necessity of continuous engagement by the two countries in dialogue process to amicably address all issues.
"We know the Kashmir-centric issues are so complex and long drawn that these cannot be resolved in a few meetings but the sustained talks to find out a solution in a peaceful atmosphere is the only way forward," he said adding that relations between the two countries have always a direct bearing on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
"The issues between the two countries cannot disappear overnight but efforts to engage in continuous dialogue should not stop," he emphasised.
The chief minister also urged Krishna to take up, with his Pakistani counterpart, smaller issues like transferring cross-LOC trade from barter status to normal by allowing financial transactions through banks, communication facilities to traders and simplifying the visa regime for cross-LOC travel to enhance the ambit of this people to people centric confidence-building measure.
He also highlighted the importance of restoring direct Haj flights from Srinagar to Saudi Arabia for Haj pilgrims from the state.
"This issue is also connected with home and civil aviation ministries and I would call for active support and help from Mr. Krishna and Dr. Farooq Abdullah in this regard at the central level," he maintained.
In his remarks, Krishna also underlined the government's commitment to efficient delivery of passport services to Indian citizens in keeping with the vision "to deliver all passport-related services to the citizens in a timely, transparent, more accessible, reliable manner and in a comfortable environment through streamlined processes and committed, trained and motivated workforce".
He said that as compared to 30,000 passports in 1950s, the passport offices in the country issued 73 lakh passports last year.
Noting that police clearance was necessary, he said: "We are working to create digital linking of passport offices with the police stations throughout the country to further ease the process of delivery."
The launch of PSKs in Jammu and Srinagar will fast track the issuance of passports to people, Krishna added.