Terrorism that continues to emanate from Pakistani soil will be high on the agenda of External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna as he embarks on a mission to Pakistan on Wednesday, in an effort to bridge the trust deficit that has affected the ties between the two countries.
Mr. Krishna’s three-day visit to Islamabad to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, will also focus on humanitarian issues such as people-to-people contact, exchange of prisoners and bilateral trade. But from New Delhi’s point of view terrorism will be the key issue.
The visit takes place in the backdrop of weeks of violence in Kashmir valley, in which the Indian establishment sees involvement of elements from across the Line of Control.
In fact, some see a link between Mr. Krishna’s visit and timing of the violence.
Belligerent ‘hate India’ speeches by leaders of jehadi groups such as Hafiz Saeed, wanted in Mumbai terror attacks case, continue to cause concern, and which will undoubtedly be conveyed to Islamabad during the parleys on Thursday.
The two Foreign Ministers have been tasked by their Prime Ministers, who met in Thimphu in April, to bridge the trust deficit and increase confidence in the relationship, thus paving the way for a substantive dialogue on issues of mutual concern.
The Indian delegation will travel to Islamabad with an open mind and look for areas where the two sides can agree and thereby reduce their differences.
The least India expects is credible and effective action against those involved in terror activities against it, including those named in connection with the Mumbai terror attacks.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who was in Pakistan last month, has conveyed India’s expectations to Pakistani leadership and also sought speedy conclusion of the 26/11 terror attack trial there. India awaits substantive Pakistani response in this regard.
Although the upcoming talks are not being described as Composite Dialogue, India will not shy from discussing any issue concerning the bilateral ties.
Afghanistan may be another important subject for discussion between Mr. Krishna and Mr. Qureshi. India has pumped in millions of dollars in assistance to the war-torn country and is unwilling to cede any strategic space to Pakistan.