PM Manmohan Singh speaks as Pakistan's PM Yousuf Raza Gilani looks on during the inaugural session of the 15th SAARC Summit in Colombo.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has promised to conduct an independent investigation into the 7/7 suicide attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said on Saturday.
<b1>Briefing the press after a meeting between Gilani and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the Saarc summit, he said Pakistan would look into the Kabul attack and “try to get to the root of it”.
Earlier, National Security Adviser MK Narayanan had squarely blamed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate for the attack and demanded that it be disbanded.
To improve the atmosphere between the two sides, Pakistan must maintain the November 2003 ceasefire, cease infiltration and ensure there are no more attacks like the one on our Kabul mission, Menon stressed. “We have to do this together — both Pakistan and India.”
In his first contact with Pakistan’s new civilian PM, Singh had a “candid and open” conversation, where recent instances of ceasefire violations and increased infiltration from across the LoC came up for discussion.
Menon said the recent blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad were “mentioned as part of a general deterioration” in the situation, but not with the “kind of specificity…and information we have about the Kabul blasts”.
“The Prime Minister was relatively frank about expressing his concerns on recent events, which have had an impact on our relationship and the process of dialogue…” he said.
Gilani told presspersons that Singh had raised the Kabul attack with him, an issue he would discuss with Hamid Karzai on Sunday since the Afghan President had blamed Pakistan within an hour of the July 7 attack. “I’ll ask him (Karzai) for evidence.”
On persistent ceasefire violations, Gilani said India has some issues, which would be looked into. The Indian PM had been invited to visit Pakistan, but there had been no reply from New Delhi yet.
Singh told Gilani that in the last four years his effort had been to improve relations with Pakistan, but the recent events had made that difficult.
In a softening of tone, Menon said Saturday's meeting was a conversation between two people who wanted to "see a way forward in this situation".
The two leaders had a detailed exchange on “how to deal with recent events and how we could move the relationship forward”. Menon conceded that the recent attacks had cast a pall of gloom over the bilateral relationship.
It appeared that the Pakistani side was hoping for a joint statement after the meeting, but India wasn't keen. In the event, no statement was issued after the meeting between the two PMs at the Taj Samudra Hotel.
With inputs from Sutirtho Patranobis