At the first secretary-level meeting between the two countries since 26/11, India on Thursday conveyed to Pakistan that it has to bring the architects of the November attacks on Mumbai to justice.
Pakistan also needs to initiate credible action against the existing terror infrastructure in the country before the two countries can “get back to business”.
With the charge-sheet into the 26/11 attacks case having been filed on Wednesday, India will soon respond to the first investigation report into the incident that Pakistan made public two weeks ago.
Foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon met his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir on the sidelines of the SAARC foreign ministers’ meeting in Colombo on Thursday.
The meeting assumed significance as post-26/11, India had paused the composite dialogue with Pakistan, alleging the attacks had been planned by terror groups active in Pakistan and then carried out by Pakistani nationals.
“India and Pakistan are going through an entirely new phase of relationship,” said Menon. “(The attacks on) Mumbai changed everything. We do not doubt the sincerity of the civilian government in Pakistan but a lot needs to be done.”
He said Pakistan was keen to get back to “…business as usual. But it is not possible for us after Mumbai. We made it clear we have no quarrel with the people in Pakistan. Trade, travel, air links are on.”
But two issues had to be resolved, he said. “The perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks would have to be brought to justice,” he said. “And credible action against the terror infrastructure in Pakistan would have to be carried out.”
With Pakistan coming out with the first investigation report into the terror act on February 12, the signs of resolving the first issue had been seen, the foreign secretary said, adding that there was no question of giving a time frame to Pakistan to resolve the two issues. “They have started a legal process,” he said. “With the filing of the charge-sheet (on Wednesday), we have also started. (In that context), no time frame can be given.”
Menon said Pakistan had been “saying the right things but we will have to judge them by what they do”.