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India rejects back channel talks with Pakistan

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, who held talks with with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on Sunday rejected any back channel talks with Pakistan and said no meaningful bilateral dialogue can take place unless Islamabad took action against the Mumbai attack suspects.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2009 01:18 IST

India on Sunday rejected any back channel talks with Pakistan and said no meaningful bilateral dialogue can take place unless that country took action against the Mumbai attack suspects.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna articulated India's position during his two-hour talks with his Pakistani
counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the first highest-level contact between the countries since their Prime Ministers met at the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh in July.

Krishna said he told Qureshi that India said was concerned over the terror threat still emanating from the soil of that country.

"We have a great concern about the groups operating from Pakistan. We conveyed this to Qureshi about the threats posed to India from the soil of Pakistan," Krishna told reporters after the talks held on the sidelines of the UNGA Session.

Asked about the talk of Pakistan mulling back channel diplomacy," Krishna said, " when front channel is open what is
the need of back channel. We have understood each other. Our position has been understood." Pakistan has proposed making former foreign secretary Riaz Muhammed Khan as its Special Envoy for Indian affairs. "Well this question did come up."

Asked about the atmosphere at the keenly awaited talks, Krishna said he and Qureshi had "useful and frank" exchanges.

Asked why India was putting pre-condition for resumption of the stalled Composite Dialogue, Krishna said "I do not
think we are not in a position of a dialogue. The question is the quality of the dialogue."

"I do not think that we are in a position to go that long," Krishna said when asked about the resumption of
composite dialogue.

"Since, I have just concluded a detailed meeting with the Foreign Minister Quershi, the question is of quality
of the dialogue and how meaningful the dialogue is."

"We have a legitimate concern that groups operating out of Pakistan, tend to pose a great danger to our country
and to our nationals. I conveyed to the foreign minister Qureshi that the dialogue process needs an environment free
from the threat of these terrorist groups," Krishna said.

Krishna said Qureshi told him that the trial against the Mumbai attack suspects would start shortly and that justice
would be done.

"We would be monitoring the developments in this regard carefully," he said, adding "concerete and effective steps
against these individuals can instill in us the confidence in us that Pakistani soil would not be used against India."

Krishna said Hafeez Saeed issue also came up during the talks. India is pressing for quick action by Pakistan to go
after Saeed, the mastermind behind the Mumbai attack.

The India Minister said Qureshi did not insist on fixing a date for resumption of composite dialogue.

To a question, Krishna said the Balochistan issue did not come up during the talks.

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