External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on Tuesday said India and Pakistan should be looking to the future rather than dwelling on what had happened.
He was responding to questions on the fallout of a Chicago jury ruling that did not find substantial evidence to declare Tahawwur Rana guilty of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks but held him culpable of providing material support to the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Mr. Krishna arrived here to attend the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) of which India is one of the four Observer countries along with Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia. The SCO is celebrating its 10th anniversary and will mull over framing norms for admitting the Observer countries as full Members.
Dwelling on India-Pakistan ties, Mr. Krishna said the peace process had to be on the basis of equality and mutual trust and not provide room for terror to be used for hostile activity by various organisations. India, he pointed out, was always concerned about terror being unleashed against it “quite often.”
Mr. Krishna later met Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev and gave India's assessment of the situation in Pakistan and its vision of the peace process in Afghanistan. Mr. Krishna detailed the process with Pakistan, which began with a meeting between the Foreign Secretaries in Thimphu. It would culminate with a meeting of the two Foreign Ministers next month.
The Minister also called on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao and exchanged pleasantries. Presidents of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Iran, Mongolia and Afghanistan are also in town to attend the annual summit meeting of SCO, which is now believed to be spreading its wings to become a truly Eurasian regional organisation.
Earlier, when newspersons accompanying him for the Shanghai summit pressed him on the Chicago jury ruling, the Minister said, “Well, whatever Rana has said under oath in a court in Chicago…. certainly opens up…. gives room for internal churnings going on in Pakistan, and motivation for Pakistan to act in way it did.”
The jury had acquitted Rana of conspiracy to provide material support to the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. He was convicted of one count of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to the terrorism plot in Denmark.
Mr. Krishna had earlier said that David Headley's statement — that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been and is actively involved in terror activities — could be described as extremely damaging. The ISI and the Pakistan government had much to answer for “not only to India, but also to the international community.”
However, the Pakistan government has termed Headley's statement “completely incorrect” and described him as a double agent and not a credible witness.