Expectations regarding the three day foreign ministers' meeting between India and Pakistan have risen as negotiations between SM Krishna and Shah Mehmood Qureshi stretched into the evening. A scheduled noontime press briefing was postponed until six in the evening.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao merely told journalists that the "news was good." She said that "there were a lot of things on the table and we will need time to work things out." Pakistani officials said the talks had seen “progress.”
She echoed the words of Pakistan interior minister, Rehman Malik, in an interview the day before Krishna landed, where he had said the people of India and Pakistan should expect “good news” and that the governments had worked out “a roadmap” for a peace process.
Pakistani military chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, called on Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani yesterday afternoon to discuss the overall security situation of the country. Commentators here say the visit would have been the perfect moment for a civilian-military interaction on the coming Krishna visit.
India and Pakistan have been working on a menu of confidence building measures, including swapping fisherman captured while straying across the maritime boundary, which would have closely paralleled the composite dialogue that was abandoned following the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai.
While India has had no problems with restarting the dialogue, it has insisted that it cannot just pick up from where the composite was before 26/11. The argument: if it did so, it would signal that there was no diplomatic fallout for Pakistan despite its clear role in the attack.
The question being asked is whether India has been able to extract a concession from Pakistan regarding terrorism.
Krishna, since he landed in Islamabad yesterday, has been citing the confession of David Coleman Headley, the Lashkar e Tayyeba scout for the 26/11 attack. Headley’s confession, India has argued, provides particularly damning evidence of Lashkar’s involvement in the terror strike and further reason for Pakistan to take action on the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack.