Friday, February 27, 2009

No talks till Pak takes steps to end terrorism: India

Colombo In the first high-level contact with Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon on Thursday met his counterpart Salman Bashir in Colombo and rejected his suggestion for resumption of Composite Dialogue till Islamabad took credible steps to end terrorism.

Menon, who met Bashir on the sidelines of a SAARC conference, underlined that India and Pakistan had entered entirely a "new phase of relations" as Mumbai attacks has changed the situation.

Bashir stressed the need for resuming the composite dialogue but Menon made it known that it could happen only after India's sees credible action by Pakistan to dismantle terror infrastructure.

"We have paused the composite dialogue and official talks have been paused," Menon told reporters after the meeting.

"As far as resumption of composite dialogue is concerned, we have to see whether there is a real movement forward on (ending) terrorism. Our goal is to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai attack to justice," he said.

Noting that India wants to see perpetrators of Mumbai attack to be brought to justice, he referred to the queries sent by Pakistan in response to India's dossier and said initial steps were "positive".

"But we need to see what they do (in future)," Menon said.

A Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement said during his meeting with Menon, Bashir reiterated the need to resume the dialogue as soon as possible to promote "substantive engagement on all issues, including Kashmir."

Menon said both the diplomats reviewed the status of bilateral relations which were paused after the Mumbai attacks.

"It is clear that we are in a new phase of relations entirely. Mumbai has changed what we had taken. We have paused the composite dialogue and official talks have been put on hold," the Indian Foreign Secretary said.

Menon said there has to be credible action against dismantling of terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan.

"We have brought Pakistan to somewhere. It has to be recognised. Terrorism infrastructure inside that country has to be dismantled and credible steps towards this should be taken," he said.

"We have made it clear that we have no quarrel with the people of Pakistan. Trade and travel links between the two countries have not been affected," he said.

Menon said India does not doubt the sincerity of the civilian government in Pakistan. "But we need to see what they can do to eradicate the menace of terrorism."

The Indian Foreign Secretary said Pakistan's response to our January 5 dossier on Mumbai attacks was a positive step.

"They (Pakistan) shared some of the results of these investigation and asked us some questions. (Home Minister) P Chidambaran said we will come with a response to the demand once the chargesheet is filed," he said.

Menon said India will do whatever it can to encourage Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks "whoever it may be" to justice.

Source: the indian express

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