Not many takers for Zardari’s dialogue offer


New Delhi : Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s latest overture to India to restart talks after the Lok Sabha elections does not have many takers.

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Strategic analysts say that New Delhi is unlikely to resume the stalled dialogue process with Islamabad in the near future, regardless of whether the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) or the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) forms the next government.

Only the Left seems to be in a mood to talk to Pakistan.

“We are always for a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan. There is no alternative to talks. One can restart the dialogue process and at the same time intensify international pressure on Pakistan to act against Mumbai terrorists,” Communist Party of India leader D. Raja told IANS.

Former national security adviser Brajesh Mishra said the political establishment in general did not appear to be ready to shake hands with Pakistan.

“They have not acted against the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks. They have not abandoned their support to terrorism as an instrument of policy. Nothing has changed,” Mishra told IANS.

“It’s unlikely any government will resume dialogue with Pakistan in such a situation.

“The government has made it clear that there will be no resumption of dialogue unless Pakistan shows visible action against the Mumbai terrorists. A new government is unlikely to change that position,” said Mishra.

Agreed G. Parthasarathy, a former envoy to Pakistan: “Restoring dialogue at this stage does not make sense. There is no movement against those behind the Mumbai attacks. Some of those arrested have been released.”

A day after Zardari said he would start fresh dialogue with India once elections get over, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday reiterated the Congress-led UPA government’s stance that any rethink on starting dialogue with Pakistan will depend on “effective steps” against the Mumbai culprits.

“Our minimum demand is that Pakistan must take effective steps to bring the Mumbai culprits to book before we can resume the dialogue,” he told a news conference in Chennai.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said friendship with Pakistan and cross-border terrorism “can’t go hand in hand”.

“Pakistan has to prove its intention to punish the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism before talks can start,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told IANS.

Terrorists from Pakistan slaughtered more than 170 people in Mumbai in November 2008.