India has rejected Pakistan’s demand for resumption of composite dialogue and wants terrorism on top of the agenda of the foreign-secretary level talks on February 25.
Some confidence-building measures such as issue of release of prisoners and fishermen could also be talked about for “broad-basing” the outcome, said a senior official, on condition of anonymity.
The Indian position was conveyed at a preparatory meeting Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik and his deputy Rifat Masood had with Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Wednesday. The talks should not be interpreted as the resumption of composite dialogue, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said.
Malik pushed for resuming composite dialogue — discussions on all outstanding issues under a structured format. Indian side, however, stuck to the primacy of terrorism-related issues, which have assumed greater importance following the February 13 Pune blast.
The invitation extended to Islamabad was for talks, and not for the resumption of composite dialogue, said an official about the meeting, on condition of anonymity. The invite was for talking about issues having a bearing on peace in the region — and terrorism figures prominently among them.
“We can’t decide on what Pakistan will take up, and we will listen to all their concerns,” the official said.
“Composite dialogues are suspended from the Indian point of view. The issue that we raised remained to be addressed by Pakistan with a degree of seriousness,” he told CNN-IBN in an interview.