New Delhi/Thimphu: Ahead of the ministerial level meeting with Pakistan, India
Saturday talked tough on terror but hoped to unveil a slew of
confidence-building measures that will lower barriers to expanded
trade and travel across the divided halves of Kashmir.
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar touches down here
Tuesday for talks with her External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna
the following day. She has also sought a meeting with Prime
Minister Manmohan Sigh.
India is ready to discuss "all issues with an open mind", and will
push for speedy justice for victims of 26/11 Mumbai terror,
government sources said in New Delhi.
"They will review the progress in the dialogue process and their
aim is to chart the way forward," a source said when asked about
the meeting between the two foreign ministers Wednesday.
The source underlined the need for "an atmosphere free from
terror" for meaningful talks, but at the same time sought to
expand the scope of dialogue by including new areas of cooperation
like agriculture, health and telecommunications.
Justice for 26/11 victims will be given a "lot of prominence and
emphasis," in the talks, but at the same time people-centric
initiatives will be given an equal importance, officials said.
"We desire peaceful relations with Pakistan and hope for a stable
Pakistan that acts a bulwark against extremism and terrorism,"
said the source.
"A number of CBMs are under consideration which will enhance
people-to-people contacts. We will announce some CBMs."
The two sides are expected to announce an increase in the
frequency of cross-Kashmir bus links between Srinagar and
Muzaffarabad and Poonch and Rawalakot. The two sides will also
increase the number of trading days across the Line of Control
(LOC) and open more trading points.
"We are discussing increasing the frequency of the trading days,
improving the bus communication, resolving issues relating to
entry permits used by traders. The idea is to make LoC trade
easier," the source said.
Seeking to downplay a likely meeting with Pakistan's foreign
minister with Hurriyat leaders, the source said India hoped that
the Pakistani side will be able to "tell them to talk the language
of peace, sanity and reconciliation".
"Goading the Hurriyat to espouse agendas will not help," the
At the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
meeting in Thimphu, India made it clear without naming Pakistan
that "no country can escape its responsibility by blaming
non-state actors for terrorist activities emanating from its
"As long as the territory of a country is used by non-state actors
to prepare for terror attacks, that country owes a legal and moral
responsibility to its neighbours and to the world to suppress
those non-state actors and bring them to justice," Home Minister
P.Chidambaram said at the 4th meeting of the SAARC interior/home
"Sometimes, I think that the distinction between state actors and
non-state actors is misplaced and intended to misdirect our
efforts to deal with terrorist groups at the very source -- the
recruitment centres, the training camps and their safe havens and
sanctuaries," he said.
Describing terrorism as the biggest existentialist challenge in
South Asia, Chidambaram called for enhanced cooperation among
countries in the region to fight the menace.
Meanwhile, asked about the arrest of Ghulam Nabi Fai, a suspected
Pakistani ISI agent involved in illegal lobbying in the US, the
government source in New Delhi said: "The link between the
agencies of the Pakistani state and militants and separatists need
to be broken."
India hoped that the arrest of Fai will lead the exposure of
similar separatists linked to Pakistan who are operating from
London and Brussels, but stressed that the Fai row will not affect
the forthcoming talks.