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'India hopes Pak would respond to its immediate concerns'

India is hoping that Pakistan's new government will respond to its immediate concerns, such as fixing accountability for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

world Updated: Jul 05, 2013 16:35 IST

India is hoping that Pakistan's new government will respond to its immediate concerns, such as fixing accountability for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

"It is important to let them (new Pakistan government) settle down, let them take stock of the situation. And hopefully start giving us signals that they mean business on those issues which are of immediate concern to us, and that includes accountability for the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai," external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said.

"That is something we can't wish away and should not wish away," Khurshid said in an interview.

He also noted that the messages given out by Nawaz Sharif both during and after the campaign, publicly as well as privately have been very positive and meaningful and said "We have also responded to that in a meaningful way."

The talks process between India and Pakistan was halted for over two years in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that were blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Seven Pakistani suspects have been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks that killed 166 people in Mumbai.

Responding to a question whether there was any new movement in Indo-Pak peace process, Khurshid said, "There's a lot happening. But the actual dialogue, the resumed dialogue, has to be re-resumed because, as you know, there were events that caused matters to come to a virtual halt."

"Many of the important decisions we were taking as confidence-building measures were, sort of, slowed down," Khurshid said.

"As far as the actual dialogue is concerned we will get back gradually."

Khurshid said India is also looking at Pakistan's growing energy demands.

"Their urgency for supply of power and gas - we sent an experts team right way and they are now sending their team back to us. So we are already looking at one major area of importance to them," he said.

When asked whether he sees better ties with Pakistan under Sharif who started the Kargil War, Khurshid replied, "Kargil War is now history, we don't want to go into that. I think he, like anyone else, comes with a lot of experience and a lot of tough experience of his time in the opposition."

"I think that he is showing signs of great statesmanship. He has certainly become a focal point of tremendous amount of hope in Pakistan.

"He has given out a good message all around. We are responding to it, with an open mind and in a positive attitude and hope that we can move forward rather than look back at what happened in the past.

On a question whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be able to visit Pakistan before the end of his tenure, Khursid said, "Can't say. I know he wants to go but if you want to go as a person you may not be able to go as a prime minister.

"Mr Sartaj Aziz (Sharif's special advisor on Foreign Affairs), when he met me, said he was very keen that the prime minister should find any excuse - be it his school, be it his village, be it any other excuse - to come to Pakistan.

"But this is really a call the prime minister will take, I cannot predict and cannot anticipate anything. But obviously, I think the story would remain incomplete if there isn't a face to face meeting between him and Nawaz Sharif. But there has to be a considerable amount of background work done.

Once that work is done and we place it before the prime minister, he will take a call."

"People who are concerned with that desk are working now but it really depends on expectations on either side and the important points on which there must be some movement before we can go to the prime minister to say we have something to place before you."

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