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Indo-Pak 'natural partners' to combat climate change: SM Qureshi

Qureshi and foreign minister SM Krishna are in New York to attend the opening week of the UN General Assembly and are expected to have bilateral talks next week.

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Noting that the climate change may have contributed to the devastating floods in Pakistan, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi suggested that India and Pakistan were natural allies in combating the problem plaguing both countries.

"If we need to look into climate change, can we do it alone?" Qureshi said, speaking at the Asia Society yesterday in New York.

"The most natural partners on issues of climate change are India and Pakistan. We share water... the Himalayan glaciers... if they (India) get affected...we both get affected," he added.

Qureshi and foreign minister SM Krishna are in New York to attend the opening week of the UN General Assembly and are expected to have bilateral talks next week.

Qureshi was highlighting the need to overcome the "trust deficit" so that the region could benefit from mutual areas of cooperation including combating terrorism and fighting poverty—problems that plague counties.

"We stand to gain by engaging with each other, I feel that South Asia has a lot of common," the minister said.

"A regional approach can be useful. We have made huge advances and yet in out countries there are people who do not get clean drinking water," he added.

Meanwhile, Krishna has also indicated that New Delhi is willing to discuss all issues in talks with Qureshi when he visits New Delhi on a yet-to-be-decided date.

While the Indian side has not confirmed a date for the bilateral meeting here, a senior diplomat from Pakistani claimed that a meeting had been cleared by both ministries and was expected to take place early next week, maybe even Monday.

Krishna is in New York till September 29 while Qureshi is in New York till September 30.

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