India, Pak secys discuss terror
Shyam Saran meets Riyaz Khan and stresses composite dialogues shouldn't be adversely affected in wake of 11/7.india Updated: Aug 01, 2006 11:32 IST
Amidst the chill in bilateral relations following the Mumbai blasts, India and Pakistan on Monday night held the first high-level talks during which New Delhi raised its concerns over cross border terrorism and hoped these will be addressed properly.
Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran met his Pakistani counterpart Riyaz Mohd Khan for about 90 minutes during which the Indian side emphasised that the peace process was important for both the countries and all possible efforts should be made to see that this is not in any way adversely affected.
The two sides, however, could not decide on a date for resumption of composite dialogue which has remained stalled in the wake of the July 11 blasts in Mumbai's suburban trains.
The Foreign Secretary-level talks were to take place in Delhi on July 20 but was put off idefinitely in the view of the Mumbai incidents.
"We expressed our concerns with respect to the issue of terrorism," Saran told reporters after the informal meeting held on the sideline of the SAARC Foreign Secretaries' conference.
"We hope these concerns will be properly addressed," he said. Asked whether India has given evidence about Pakistani links in Mumbai blasts, Saran said, "We agreed that whatever information is available with either side will be shared."
On Pakistan's response, he said Khan had told him that Islamabad was "doing all that it can with regard to control of these elements".
On whether any fresh date for talks has been decided at the meeting, Saran said, "We agreed to remain in touch in future." Both sides agreed that the peace process was important.
Describing his meeting with Saran as "positive and good", Khan said the two sides agreed that the peace process is important for both the countries.
"We are convinced that there is no other option but to pursue it," he said. On India's concerns over terrorism, he said "this issue preoccupied everybody".
To a question about Mumbai blasts, Khan said Pakistan had made its position clear that it was ready to cooperate if there are any leads with regard to links of the perpetrators with his country.
Khan said the two sides discussed everything including how to move forward. Saran is also understood to have conveyed India's objections to Pakistan's attempt to limit the SAFTA by agreeing to provide tariff concessions on the goods which are already incorporated in the bilateral list.
India has made it clear that this stand of Pakistan is violative of the letter and spirit of SAFTA and would jeopardise its implementation.
"We discussed all aspects of bilateral issues," Saran said when asked if the SAFTA issue came up for discussion with Khan. Terming India's allegations as "wrong", the Pakistani Foreign Secretary said "we are implementing (SAFTA) hundred percent in accordance with the agreement".