Foreign Minister SM Krishna will take the same message New Delhi has been making since the Mumbai 26/11 terror attacks. Namely, that Pakistan’s authorities must take action against terrorism targeted at India if the two countries are going to be able to bridge the “trust deficit” between them.
Krishna will fly to Islamabad on Wednesday for a three-day visit. The trip follows on the heels of a meeting between P. Chidambaram and Rehman Malik at the SAARC home minister’s conference.
New Delhi has preferred to keep expectations low. It has tended to play down the likelihood of any tangible accomplishment, preferring to argue engagement with Pakistan is a goal in its own right.
Islamabad seems to believe things are more positive. Malik, in an interview to The News on Tuesday, said the two countries had “prepared a roadmap” to fight terrorism jointly and that “in the coming weeks the people would hear good news.” He declined to provide any details.
Krishna will make it clear what India expects on the terror front. One will be forward movement on the trial of Pakistani militants who masterminded the 26/11 attack. India also wants Pakistan to rein in the anti-Indian rhetoric of militant leaders like the Lashkar e Tayyeba chief, Hafiz Sayeed. Ultimately, Islamabad will be expected to fulfill its 2004 pledge not to allow terror attacks on India from its soil.
While India will iterate its long-standing position regarding Kashmir, there is concern in New Delhi that Pakistan’s role in the present civil strife in that state is possibly connected to the foreign ministers’ meeting.
India’s negotiating position, on the other hand, will have been boosted by the revelations of David Headley of the involvement of Pakistan’s intelligence agency in the terror attack.
Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, are also expected to discuss humanitarian agenda including exchange of imprisoned fishermen, how to encourage people to people contacts and trade.