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Malik briefs Indian envoy

A change in tone between India and Pakistan is palpable. After engaging in a war of words since 26/11, Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal met Pakistan’s de facto Interior Minister Rehman Malik, report Kamal Siddiqi & Tushar Srivastava.

world Updated: Jan 19, 2009 23:20 IST

A change in tone between India and Pakistan is palpable. After engaging in a war of words since 26/11, Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal met Pakistan’s de facto Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday.

The meeting came even as New Delhi stressed that countries found floundering in their commitment to zero tolerance for terrorism will be made to pay a heavy price by the international community.

Pal, who sought the meeting with Malik, appreciated the “clarity and candour” of Malik’s briefing. He told PTI that Malik briefed him on the steps “already taken by the government of Pakistan as well as the steps it plans to take” and that India will “wait to see and hope for what are positive outcomes of the steps”.

Islamabad has said more information will be exchanged with New Delhi over the inquiry into the Mumbai attacks. After his meeting with Pal, Malik said the Indian government had appreciated the efforts made by the Pakistani side in addressing the issue of terrorism and that there would be more exchange of information between the two sides as the inquiry proceeds. Malik also hinted at more arrests as investigations continue into the Mumbai attacks.

In the meantime, the Pakistan Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told foreign diplomats in Islamabad that India must “respond positively to Pakistan’s proposals for engagement to address meaningfully the issue of terrorism in the region and specific to Mumbai”.

Malik said the terms of reference for the inquiry reflect the government’s intent to conduct a transparent and legally tenable inquiry and proceed with the prosecution in accordance with law of the land.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, keeping up the pressure on Islamabad, said that countries that sponsor or tolerate terrorism must be left with no choice but to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism. International partnerships by way of sharing and analysis of intelligence are crucial components of anti-terrorist operations, he said.

“The mechanisms for these operations must be reworked so that all countries have access to sophisticated technology for tackling terror. Besides, sufficient security must be ensured to prevent such intelligence from falling into the wrong hands,” he stated.