It's official: Talks are off, for now | india | Hindustan Times
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It's official: Talks are off, for now

Toughening its stand after Mumbai blasts, India formally tells Pak Foreign Secy-level talks have been called off.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2006 11:08 IST

Toughening its stand after the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai, India on Saturday formally told Pakistan that the Foreign Secretary-level talks had been called off.

The talks were scheduled for July 20.

New dates for the talks, meant to review the third round of composite dialogue, have also not been proposed.

The new dates will be decided later, diplomatic sources said.

The decision was conveyed by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to the Pakistan High Commission, a day after the government emphasised that the attacks in Mumbai had "vitiated" the atmosphere for the talks.

This move will also be conveyed by Indian High Commission in Islamabad to Pakistan Foreign Office.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said that the Mumbai blasts had put a "question mark" on the peace initiative with Pakistan as "it is becoming difficult" for India to take forward the process in view of the terror strike.

"Each time such incident takes place, we point out that our ability, like in any democracy, to take the peace process forward is dependent on public opinion," he told reporters.

"We have to take people along. Every time something like this takes place, it undermines public opinion. Negative public opinion and anger is created and whether we like it or not, it puts a question mark on the process," Saran said.

Refusing to specify what could be the threshold for tolerance of terrorism, he simply said that "as a result of this terrible terrorist incident, it is becoming difficult to take the peace process forward."

Another Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed said that the talks with Pakistan were not on New Delhi's immediate agenda.

Saran, however, emphasised that India was "very much committed" to the peace process with Pakistan and pointed out that New Delhi had initiated a number of confidence-building measures, most of which relate to Jammu and Kashmir.