Manmohan to Zardari: Don’t allow your territory for anti-India acts

By Manish Chand, IANS,

Yekaterinburg : The territory of Pakistan “should not be used for acts of terrorism against India”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday in their first meeting since the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

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The 40-minute meeting of the two leaders began here with Manmohan Singh telling Zardari that he was pleased to meet him but stressing in his opening remark that Pakistani territory “should not be used for acts of terrorism against India”.

Manmohan Singh asked Zardari to take “strong and credible action” against terrorist outfits and create the “right atmosphere” for the resumption of the stalled bilateral dialogue.

He also conveyed India’s growing disappointment with Pakistan’s inaction against the architects and executors of the Mumbai mayhem, informed sources said.

The prime minister singled out the release of Hafiz Saeed, the suspected mastermind of the 26/11 attacks, to underscore Islamabad’s lack of seriousness in acting against anti-India terror outfits.

The two leaders met at the Silver Room of the Hotel Hyatt Regency in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, the industrial town located nearly 1,400 km from Moscow, minutes after the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit they attended as observers.

They met for over half an hour and held wide-ranging discussions that focused on terrorism. The prime minister indicated his willingness to engage with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues, but made it clear that unless Islamabad takes credible action, it would be difficult to resume the peace process, an official disclosed.

Pakistan, in turn, made a strong pitch for the resumption of the composite dialogue.

While the two leaders held one-on-one discussions, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters: “Both countries stand to gain by resuming dialogue. It will be a sensible thing to resume dialogue as soon as possible. It will be in mutual interest to do so.”

In a policy speech in parliament last week, Manmohan Singh had expressed the hope that the Pakistan government would take “strong, effective and sustained action against acts of terrorism” in India and create an appropriate atmosphere for the resumption of talks.

Earlier in the day, the two leaders met the summit of the six-nation summit of the SCO where India and Pakistan, along with Iran and Mongolia, are invited as observers.