The India-Pakistan dialogue is “under stress” and Islamabad must address New Delhi’s concerns on cross-border terrorism, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said on Monday.
Menon, speaking after meeting his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir, said information available with New Delhi pointed to the involvement of “elements in Pakistan” in the suicide attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. He said the two sides had a “frank discussion” on the situation, a point echoed by Bashir in a separate press conference.
“We expect our concerns (on terrorism) to be addressed… this is the basis of our dialogue,” Menon said. He also admitted that the ceasefire along the Line of Control had come under strain. Both countries were, however, committed to maintaining and strengthening the ceasefire.
Menon revealed that Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had called External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday, and the two had discussed the current state of the bilateral relationship. Mukherjee is believed to have stressed the need to address Indian concerns on terrorism and the two agreed to discuss this on the sidelines of the forthcoming Saarc session in Colombo.
According to Menon, India saw the value of holding a dialogue with Pakistan. “We have a dialogue because we have a problem,” he told mediapersons. On whether he meant the ISI Directorate when referring to “elements in Pakistan” being responsible for the Kabul blast, he refused to be drawn, only saying that investigations were on.
Bashir, in turn, maintained Pakistan was willing to look into any information India might provide on the blast. He said he’d requested Menon that India share information with Pakistan on the attack. At the same time, he said, it was wrong to point a finger at Pakistan without hard evidence.