Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said on Thursday that the first official talks with Pakistan in 14 months had marked a “first step” towards rebuilding trust between the two countries.
“We had set out to take a first step towards rebuilding trust and I believe my meeting with the Pakistan foreign secretary constituted that first step,” Rao told reporters after talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir.
“We have agreed to remain in touch,” she said, while adding that the time was “not right as yet” to resume a fully-fledged peace dialogue as requested by Pakistan.
They were the first direct talks since India suspended dialogue in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
Rao said she had pressed the Pakistani side on the issue of terrorism and handed over three dossiers requesting further action against those responsible for the attacks, as well as other “fugitives from Indian law” believed to be sheltering in Pakistan.
“I spelt out forthrightly our concerns on terrorism emanating from Pakistan against India,” she said.
While acknowledging steps Pakistan had taken to bring the guilty to book, Rao said she had stressed that India felt these “did not go far enough to unravel the full conspiracy” behind the carnage in Mumbai that left 166 dead.
“I told my counterpart that terrorism cannot advance any cause, but the cause of senseless violence,” she said. Rao described her aims going into the talks as “modest” but said she had enjoyed “useful, detailed and candid” discussions.
"We went into the talks with an open mind and were aware of the trust deficit. However, we must not shut the door to dialogue. Condemning the acts of terrorism, she said that terror cannot advance any course," she said.
She said that terror acts hindered the talks. She stressed to Pakistan the need for urgent action on terror.
Talking about the Mumbai attacks, she said that three new dossiers have been handed over to Pakistan and her counterpart assured action on it. She said the roles of terror suspects David Coleman Headly and Tahawwur Rana was also discussed in the meeting. (With agencies inputs)