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Want dialogue? Then contain terror, PM tells Gilani


Sharm-el-Sheikh (Egypt) : Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear to his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday that there can be no further bilateral dialogue unless Islamabad contains terrorist activities directed from Pakistani soil.

“We were quiet clear that if acts of terrorism continue to be perpetrated, there is no question of any dialogue, let alone composite dialogue,” Manmohan Singh told reporters here after three hours of talks with Gilani on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit.

“If there is no attempt to contain terror, no dialogue can take place,” he said, quickly adding that he was not accusing the present government in Islamabad of having “the same mindset”.

At the same time, Manmohan Singh indicated that India would not be averse to talking to Pakistan, saying “our relationship has been subject to too many accidents”.

“We have begun the process… How successful we are in achieving that only time can tell,” he said. “We have an obligation to engage Pakistan.”

“India’s destiny as a great power … cannot be realised unless there is peace in South Asia.”

The Indian prime minister said Pakistan “was very keen to resume the composite dialogue. I said unless we are satisfied (that Pakistan has put a stop to promoting terror), no dialogue can take place… I won’t be able to carry the public with me.”

Manmohan Singh and Gilani met for an hour without aides before they had another nearly two hours of talks with their delegation members.

Manmohan Singh said he sought from Gilani an assurance that there would be no repeat of the savage terror attacks like on Mumbai last year when terrorists from Pakistan sneaked into the Indian city and slaughtered over 170 people. If that happens, it would be “intolerable”, he said.

To this, Gilani reportedly responded: “You test us. We will work with India to prevent such things from happening again.”