THE GOVERNMENT has postponed — and not called off — the foreign secretary-level review of Round III of the composite dialogue process between India and Pakistan, earlier scheduled to be held on July 20 and 21.
Sources said channels of dialogue between the two countries had to be kept open to prevent the situation from deteriorating further. But no new dates for talks were likely to be announced soon because of the negative public opinion in the wake of the Mumbai blasts.
There was speculation the dialogue process would be called off after the PM went on record, saying those responsible for the blasts had been instigated by elements in Pakistan.
On Saturday, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said the government had to keep in mind public opinion. The dialogue process could only go forward if the country backed it.
The peace process could be carried forward only if Pakistan implemented its assurance on not allowing its soil to be used for anti-India operations. Saran said India had always sought friendship with Pakistan and had taken most of the initiatives for Kashmir-specific CBMs.
Saran said New Delhi had repeatedly told Islamabad that there was a certain “threshold” of tolerance and India’s ability to carry the peace process forward was linked to its implementation of the assurances made in the January 6, 2004 statement.