The Cabinet Committee on Security has given the go-ahead to the agenda for talks between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan next week, involving, essentially, a “three-legged process”.
The first leg will revolve around Pakistan’s adherence to its commitment not to allow any act of terrorism against India from its soil. The second will be the level of commitment to resolve all outstanding bilateral issues in the ambit of the composite dialogue process. The third will be the attempt to build a lasting relationship, involving the creation of stakes in each other's welfare.
These talks will go beyond just a review of the third round of the dialogue process, which was interrupted by the Mumbai train blasts. The talks between Shivshankar Menon and Riaz Mohammad Khan, scheduled for November 14 and 15, are not “well choreographed” because of the “peculiar circumstances” in which they were put off, and will determine the future course and direction of bilateral negotiations, sources said.
As part of discussions on the joint terror mechanism, India intends to use the talks to “test” Pakistan by giving it some of the “clinching” evidence it has. The evidence, related not only to the Mumbai blasts but also to other acts of terror in the past year, will deal with the involvement of “elements”, terrorists and their sponsors based in Pakistan. With specific regard to the blasts, sources said all evidence cannot be shared as a chargesheet has not been filed yet. Sharing all the evidence could, therefore, jeopardise the legal process. After providing the evidence, India will wait and see what Pakistan does. “We will see how willing they are. We will put Pakistan to the test,” official sources said.
The Siachen and Sir Creek issues will also come up for discussion between the foreign secretaries.
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