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India, Pak home secys to talk on terrorism

world Updated: Feb 08, 2011 01:04 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times

A day after the India-Pakistan talks, guarded optimism and refrain from trading charges in public were in full display in Thimpu on Monday -- while foreign secretary Nirupama Rao quoted from Shakespeare's King Lear, her Pakistan counterpart Salman Bashir spoke of broad meeting of the minds.

However, that that may not be enough to get on with the daunting task of sequencing of the dialogue process in place to address the trust deficit to some extent before Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi arrives in India for talks in April-May.

When asked about the next steps in the dialogue process, Rao, quoting from Shakespeare's King Lear said "As they say, in life as in diplomacy 'ripeness is all'."

Then she further explained: "We have to wait for this process to mature and we should be cautiously optimistic because there are many issues that need to be resolved between our two countries as the nature of the relationship has been very complex. We have to be realistic and should be aware of the realities but we should have a vision for the future."

Putting their mandate to address the post 26/11 trust deficit in context, Bashir said "I think we have, to a considerable extent, succeeded in doing that…. everything should be discussed and that is the format that we are pursuing.

"I think there is consensus at the leadership level that that's the practical way forward."

He also he refrained from raising the temper over Samjhauta blast and case repeated the traditional Pakistan position on Kashmir, with a sense of balance.

"We hope that the issue of Jammu & Kashmir which has of course been a central issue is resolved in accordance with the aspirations of the kashmiri people. We look forward to discussing this along with the other issues."

Though there was no extra emphasis on any of the core issues in public, Indian officials maintained that they want to "proceed with caution" and to ensure what the foreign secretaries had decided will have the support of all "the elements of Pakistani establishment on board " — meaning army.

Though what India has agreed on to discuss are issues covered under composite dialogue process, suspended after 26/11, New Delhi doesn't want to call it so. At the same time, New Delhi is cautious about the fact that on 26/11 it is yet to get a major concession in approach, that's politically useful for the domestic constituency.

At the same time, the Samjhauta train blast case is used to the hilt by the Pakistan side.