India has told Pakistan that the resumption of broad-based dialogue hinges on tangible investigations and purposeful prosecution by Islamabad of all those involved in last November’s Mumbai terror attacks.
The message was conveyed by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna during a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in New York.
“Well, that has always been India’s position and I think very rightly so. I think that is a sensible approach,” Mr. Krishna later told newspersons.
The tone for India’s stand on normalisation of ties was set days earlier by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Pittsburg. “India’s message is that it seeks to normalise its relations with Pakistan. But the only obstacle is that Pakistan should give up its old attitude regarding the use of terror as an instrument of state policy,” Dr. Singh had told a news conference at the G20 meet.
At the meeting, Mr. Krishna turned down Pakistan’s desire for going beyond the issue of terrorism and said “the least” New Delhi expected were “tangible results” from Islamabad on the basis of the dossiers containing information about the involvement of Pakistani nationals in the Mumbai attacks.
Though India did not want to set a benchmark for resuming the composite dialogue, Mr. Krishna said he told Mr. Qureshi that prosecution of the perpetrators of the attack “within the framework of the Pakistan law” would help build the appropriate atmosphere.
Participating in the general debate of the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Krishna assured it of India’s commitment to good neighbourly relations with Pakistan but felt there could not be any justification for mindless terrorist acts. Without mentioning Pakistan, he said, “It is our collective responsibility and duty to work together to ensure that terrorists, organisers, perpetrators and supporters of such crimes are brought to justice.”
Talking to newspersons after the talks, Mr. Qureshi said Islamabad was considering appointing the former Foreign Secretary, Riaz Mohd Khan, special envoy to India.
The meeting took place following a decision between Dr. Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani at Sharm el-Sheikh in July to hold meetings between the two Foreign Secretaries who would then report to their Foreign Ministers.