India focused on terrorism; Pakistan resists linkage with Mumbai


New York : Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers are set to hold crucial talks Sunday with India expected to focus on terrorism and Pakistan resisting a linkage with action against 26/11 Mumbai terror attackers.

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Ahead of Sunday’s talks between External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, their top diplomats had what was described as a “useful exchange of views” Saturday.

“We had a useful exchange of views,” Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters after a two-hour long meeting with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir.

The Indian side insisted on concerted action and the need to complete the process of investigation of the Mumbai attacks because the conspiracy emanated in Pakistan, an Indian official said. “There is a need to bring the investigation to a satisfactory conclusion,” he added.

Bashir too described Saturday’s talks as “useful” that helped in understanding the perspectives of the two parties “more clearly”, but suggested that New Delhi should not hold the relationship back on a single issue as it has done what was “required” in the case.

“The question is how do we move beyond this point. The relationship cannot be held or brought to a standstill because of a trial or one investigation,” he said.

“What our Indian friends need to realise is that much more than India, Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism so playing the victim does not help really,” Bashir said

“As far as Pakistan is concerned, I think, I have personally found the meeting useful because we were able to touch upon a lot of issues, including issues which are of primary concern to India, that is the Mumbai investigations,” he said.

“Pakistan has nothing to hide, in fact, we have been very forthcoming on the quality of the work that has been done by our experts in terms of investigations and the arrests etcetra, and all that has been shared with India,” he said.

“It is now, I believe, time that India recognises, which they have, that Pakistan has done what was required,” Bashir added.

The Pakistani diplomat said: “We seek a meaningful engagement to address all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. We look with a great deal of optimism and confidence for the future of our region.”

The meeting between Rao and Bashir marked the first high-level contact between the two countries since the Prime Ministers of the two countries met at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on July 16.

“The positive momentum of Sharm-el Sheikh has not been fully registered in India but there is hope that the understanding at the high levels will continue,” Bashir said.

“We are very sincerely committed to promoting good neighbourly friendly relations with all of our neighbours,” he added.