AN END to terrorist acts directed from Pakistani soil is the "bare minimum" needed to show that India and Pakistan are serious in their commitment to fight terrorism, says Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Speaking at a press conference on-board the PM's special aircraft from Frankfurt to Brazil on Tuesday, Singh said while he saw that "terrorism was a threat to both countries", he expected the Pakistani leadership to honour the pledges made in the January 2004, April 2005 and September 2005 statements to not permit territory under its control to be used for acts of terrorism against India.
All this made it incumbent on both countries to work together in a manner that inspires confidence that both will fight terrorism.
Asked if India felt there was an element of doublespeak in Pervez Musharraf's positions, the PM acknowledged that there was "a trust deficit" between the two countries. But, he said, Musharraf was the president of Pakistan and "we have to deal with the person is power".
Asked if the lack of success on Siachen and Sir Creek meant that the peace process had slowed down, Singh was emphatic that it had not.
"It is not true that there has been no progress," he said, pointing to the opening up of the border in Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan in the past two years, the permission given to the Hurriyat to travel to Pakistan, and the movement of ordinary people and civil society groups. Singh rejected Pakistani claims that no terrorist activity was being permitted from its side.
"The January 2004 statement (which commits Pakistan not to permit terrorist acts from territory under its control) tacitly acknowledges the ground reality," he said.
He said while Pakistan was also subject to attacks by terrorist outfits, "our worry is that the Pakistan government has not done enough to control these elements".
But Singh maintained that in his view the destinies of the two countries were "strongly intertwined" and the development potential of the subcontinent could not be realised "without an India-Pakistan reconciliation".
Asked about the Malegaon investigations, the Prime Minister emphasised the need to keep an "absolutely open mind" about the outcome of the inquiries.
Asked if Hindu extremists could be involved, Singh said it would be "inappropriate for us to rule out anything or rule in anything".
He said there was need for a " fair investigation which inspires confidence and brings out the truth and nothing but the truth without anything pre-conceived notion."
Singh acknowledged that India needed to strengthen its intelligence set-up. "There is a problem, I do not deny this," he said. Also, there was a need "to strengthen our investigative methodology", he said.