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Updated: September 28, 2009 10:28 IST

Peace talks can't succeed amid terror, India tells Pakistan

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External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had implicitly rejected Pakistan’s suggestion to look beyond Mumbai terror attacks and continue dialogue. File photo: K. Gopinathan
The Hindu
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had implicitly rejected Pakistan’s suggestion to look beyond Mumbai terror attacks and continue dialogue. File photo: K. Gopinathan

Demanding concrete action against terror groups, India on Sunday told Pakistan in no uncertain terms that an environment free of violence and terrorism was essential for the success of a meaningful dialogue process.

“We told Pakistan that India still has serious concerns about the threat which groups and individuals in Pakistan continue to pose to us,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters after a 100-minute meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi at New York Palace hotel here.

He had thus underlined and reiterated “that concrete and effective steps against these individuals and entities can instill in us the confidence that commitments given by Pakistan that it would not allow its soil to be used for terrorist attacks against India would be adhered to.”

Implicitly rejecting Pakistan’s suggestion to look beyond Mumbai terror attacks and continue their composite dialogue, Mr. Krishna conveyed to Mr. Qureshi, “our appreciation that for a sustained and meaningful dialogue process to succeed, it is essential to ensure an environment free of violence, terrorism and the threat to use violence.”

During what he described as “a useful, constructive and candid exchange of views on the present situation in our bilateral relations,” Mr. Krishna said they both agreed that the future direction in their bilateral relations has to be one of deeper, sustained and meaningful relations.

“Being a neighbour, there is an imperative to have a mutually beneficial relationship with each other in the long term interests of our own countries and to realize our national developmental priorities.”

Mr. Qureshi, in turn had conveyed to him “the seriousness of his government in bringing to book through their legal process those responsible for the terrorist outrage in Mumbai ten months ago,” Krishna said.

Pakistan has taken some steps within its own legal system against those directly responsible for the attack on Mumbai and the processes thus instituted must gather further momentum, he said.

The case regarding Hafiz Sayeed, alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attacks is also one that concerns India as evidence available with New Delhi bring out his major role in the conspiracy.

Mr. Qureshi had also conveyed to him that the trial against those accused for the Mumbai attack would begin shortly and that the Pakistan government will take steps to see justice done. We will be monitoring developments on this score very carefully, he said.

At a separate press conference after the “successful” meeting, Mr. Qureshi said Pakistan wanted good neighbourly relations with its neighbours including India and the two sides had agreed to continue meaningful engagement and purposeful negotiations.

Mr. Qureshi said he updated Mr. Krishna on the headway Pakistan had achieved in Mumbai attack investigations and told him that Pakistan was taking action against the perpetrators. The hearing of a case in this connection will begin Oct 3, he said.

Mr. Qureshi said he had suggested to Mr. Krishna a road map to continue the bilateral talks, as talks were the only way to move forward. Pakistan is a responsible state and knows its responsibility, he said and no elements would be allowed to hijack the peace process between the two countries.

Pakistan wants to resolve all outstanding issues with India through dialogues and various issues including Siachin, Kashmir and Sir Creek were discussed in the meeting, Mr. Qureshi said.

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