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Terrorism is core of peace talks

Evidence will be shared with Pak to set up the joint mechanism, says the new EAM, reports Nilova Roy Chaudhury.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2006 11:11 IST

Pakistan’s commitment to address Indian concerns about acts of terrorism on Indian soil remains at the core of the dialogue, official sources said, and the future course of the bilateral dialogue process will depend on Islamabad’s will to tackle the problem.

“In a democracy, public opinion matters,” an official said, explaining New Delhi’s insistence on tackling the issue of terrorist attacks. “We will follow what public opinion says,” the official said. “Maybe they (Pakistan) don’t understand this. They work differently.”

“The process can only be carried forward with public support,” the official said.
Major terrorist attacks, like the one in Mumbai in July, sets public opinion against continuing as if it was business as usual, official sources said.

“We have problems with the terrorists and their sponsors, and not with the Pakistani people,” the official said.

When Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon meets his counterpart Riaz Mohammad Khan on Tuesday, he will put to the test Pakistan’s willingness to adhere to specific commitments made by Islamabad to not allow any acts of terrorism from any part of its soil against targets in India.

"We will see how willing they are. We will put Pakistan to test," the official sources said.

Sharing of evidence to carry investigations forward and setting up the joint mechanism to combat terror would follow, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, commenting on the forthcoming India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary-level talks.

Khan arrives in New Delhi on Monday for the talks, which will also include a review of the third round of the composite dialogue process, put off from July in the aftermath of the deadly serial train bombings in Mumbai.

“What really counts for us is the joint statement issued at Havana,” an official said.

“Our job is to get Pakistan to stop all kinds of terrorist acts against us,” the official said. “We are not in the business of pinpointing who the sponsors of terrorism are. We just want the attacks to stop.”

The issue of Siachen and Sir Creek would also come up for discussion between the Foreign Secretaries, who have been mandated to do so in the Havana joint statement, issued after the summit between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf on the sidelines of the NAM summit.