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'Talks with Pak at appropriate time'

india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 21:31 IST

India on Wednesday refused to commit itself to a date for the resumption of foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan even as it said that Islamabad's shadowy Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) "continues to provide" support to terror groups in this country.

According to Home Minister Shivraj Patil, "India has conveyed to Pakistan that the dialogue process can be sustained if Pakistan takes action for dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism, including training camps, launch pads and communications links between terrorist groups on the Indian side and their handlers on the Pakistan side."

As for the foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries, these would "take place at an appropriate time", Patil told the Rajya Sabha, Parliament's Upper House.

The talks, under the composite dialogue process between the two countries, were to be held in late July in Islamabad. India, however, refused to confirm the dates in the July 11 train blasts that killed over 200 in which New Delhi suspects the hand of Pakistan-backed groups. The two foreign secretaries, however, met in Dhaka earlier this month on the sidelines of a SAARC (South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation) meeting.

Patil also blamed the ISI for continuing to foment terrorism in India.

"According to available inputs, ISI continues to provide directions and logistics support, including recruitment, arms training and financing to terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and Al-Badr, for terrorist related activities in Jammu and Kashmir despite the government's peace initiative and the prime minister's invitation to separatist leaders for two roundtable conferences," Patil said in a written reply.

"Available inputs indicate ISI continues to remunerate terrorists for attacks on security forces and political leaders. The serial grenade attacks on April 14 and July 12 in Srinagar and killings of tourists are reportedly the result of directives received by the terrorist outfits from across the border," he added.

Replying to a supplementary by Yashwant Sinha (Bharatiya Janata Party - BJP), Patil said while the government had provided Pakistan with information about terrorist activities in India by Islamabad-backed groups, it had no information of the demolition of the terror structure across the border.

"Some information has been given and some information is not complete," Patil stated.

Asked whether India was sharing this evidence through diplomatic channels or through third parties, Patil replied: "Any information needs to be scrutinised before it is sent through diplomatic channels."

Earlier this month, India said it was keeping the international community updated about 52 terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

"There are reportedly 52 terrorist training camps in Pakistan and in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir," Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed told the Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Parliament. Aug 2.

"The government has, in its interaction with Pakistan at all levels, continuously stressed the fact that Pakistan needs to take effective action to dismantle terrorism on a permanent basis," he added.

Questioned about the perpetrators of the Mumbai blasts, Patil on Wednesday said: "We have information but don't want to jump to conclusions."

In a supplementary, Abu Azmi (Samajwadi Party) wanted to know whether by taking advantage of the large number of unemployed youth in Kashmir, the ISI was paying some of them "wages" of up to Rs.7,000 a month to stage terror attacks.

Before Patil could respond, Murli Manohar Joshi (BJP) retorted: "How do you know this?"

Patil replied that poverty was "one reason but poverty alone was not responsible" for some Kashmiri youth to take to the gun.

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