Blasts a conspiracy to derail resumption of dialogue: group of prominent citizens

Talks between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan would be held as per schedule, New Delhi said on Thursday, indicating that Wednesday's Mumbai blasts would not cast a shadow on the process.

“They [the talks] are on …there is no change in the scheduled visits of [the United States] Secretary of State [Hillary] Clinton or the Foreign Minister of Pakistan,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here.

The Minister said this during an interaction with media on the sidelines of his meeting with Burhanuddin Rabbani, Chairman of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan.

Condemning the “dastardly and heinous [Mumbai] attacks,” Mr. Krishna asserted that the State would do everything within its power to bring the guilty to justice at the earliest.

“This is yet another grim reminder to everyone in this region and our country that terror is a continuing threat to India and it is necessary for all Indians to be ever vigilant of these terrorist attacks,” he said.

Mr. Krishna is expected to hold talks with his Pakistan counterpart towards July-end and review the progress of the peace process that was revived earlier this year.

‘Inhuman'

Meanwhile, a group of prominent citizens from India and Pakistan strongly condemned the “inhuman and dastardly” blasts in Mumbai and urged both countries to continue with the scheduled Foreign Minister-level talks.

“It is clear that these blasts are a well-orchestrated, heinous conspiracy to derail the resumption of the dialogue and peace process between India and Pakistan that was stalled following the terror attack in Mumbai in 2008. With the resumption of dialogue, in the last six months, both the countries had made significant progress towards normalisation of relations and resolution of a number of outstanding issues through a series of high-level meetings and exchange programmes,” the group said in a joint statement.

The latest blasts, ahead of the meeting that is to address a number of crucial issues seemed to be engineered to disrupt this meeting and once again derail the peace process, the group said. It also urged investigating agencies to probe the matter fully with an open mind to unravel the conspiracy, expose all those involved and punish the guilty.

The signatories from India included the former Navy Chief, Admiral L. Ramdas; film-makers Mahesh Bhatt and Anand Patwardhan; academician Amitabh Matoo. Those from Pakistan included MP Sherry Rehman; the former Judge, Nasir Alam; and journalist Beena Sarwar, among others.

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