HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Indo-Pak dialogue fresh challenge for govt

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 10, 2011
First Published: 23:51 IST(10/2/2011) | Last Updated: 23:53 IST(10/2/2011)

Both New Delhi and Islamabad on Thursday formally announced a series of dialogue processes, which were suspended since the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.


The foreign secretaries of two nations will meet ahead of Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi visit to India to "review the progress" of the discussions with his Indian counterpart SM Krishna "before July."

Manmohan Singh government's decision to walk the extra-mile could usher in a new political challenge because of Islamabad's slow response so far to India's demands that perpetrators of the Mumbai 26/11 attack are brought to justice.

After the official announcement on Thursday, the BJP did not openly oppose the talks.

But it did want the government to answer whether it was "convinced" that Pakistan had delinked itself from promoting terrorism, an assurance that was written into the Islamabad Declaration in 2004 after former PM A B Vajpayee's visit to that country.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, "It's for the government to answer whether Pakistan has stopped terrorism from emanating from its soil against India. We need to know whether our government is convinced on this issue."

The Congress, looked at the development as inevitable because "the neighbours will have to talk."

But the party was also cautious to emphasize that curbs on terrorism is key to the talks' success.

"Any dialogue should be with certain conditions like Pakistan should desist from allowing its soil to be used for anti-India activities. Any dialogue should keep the interests of the country and people in mind," said party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed.

Seen as an outcome of the just-concluded talks at Thimphu, the decision was described by foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao as an "expression of political will" to normalise the relations.

Interestingly, New Delhi termed the dialogue as "serious, sustained and comprehensive" but the sequencing showed it had many components of the composite dialogue.

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