Pak must stop terrorism against India: Manmohan tells Zardari
As soon as they sat down, Singh said he was happy to meet Zardari.
And then, within earshot of reporters, the PM spelt out the post-26/11 agenda for Zardari — that Pakistan must implement the assurances given to India on terrorism.
Singh, as usual, spoke in his low tone at the Silver Room of the Hyatt hotel in this central Russian city, but his remarks were audible to journalists, before they were ushered out of the meeting room.
Singh and Zardari had last met on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly session in New York last September.
On Tuesday, they had a 45-minute one-on-one conversation.
Later, foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon said the “primary issue of terrorism will be discussed by the foreign secretaries of the two countries” before the leaders of the two countries met again in mid-July on the sidelines of an international conference in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Zardari’s spokesman, Farhatullah Baabar, said in a statement that the stalled peace process between the two countries had got a “fresh lease of life”. The president, he added, had reiterated Islamabad’s desire to punish the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage.
There is no resumption of the composite dialogue yet, but the reset button on the relationship appears to have been pressed by the two countries.
Menon emphasised that the foreign secretaries would discuss what Pakistan had done to tackle terrorism against India and then report to the leaders. The rest, he said, was “astrology”.
It is clear that for the moment only the issue of Pakistani action against India-specific terrorism is on the bilateral agenda, but once Singh and Zardari take stock of the situation in Egypt, opportunities for enhanced dialogue could open up.
Aware of political sensitivities back home, the government seems to have gone along with a limited resumption of talks with Pakistan which would focus directly on Islamabad’s actions to curb terrorist attacks against India.
Asked for a response to the “tough language” used by Singh on terrorism, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi downplayed the issue. “I would look at it differently,” he said. “The fact that this (Zardari-Manmohan) meeting is happening is a positive development.”
About the release of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba leader Hafiz Saeed by the Lahore High Court, he said, “The courts in Pakistan are independent and we, like you, have to respect their decisions.”
Would the Pakistani government file an appeal in the Supreme Court against Saeed’s release? “We’re contemplating such an appeal,” said Qureshi.
Singh reiterates commitment to Indo-Pak dialogue
source : www.dawn.com
NEW DELHI: India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated Wednesday that he wanted to try again to make peace with Pakistan, but stressed Islamabad needed to take ‘strong and effective’ action to end terrorism, PTI reported.
The comments came a day after Singh met with Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of a regional summit in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, their first face-to-face talks since the deadly Mumbai attacks.
In this meeting, the two sides agreed that their foreign secretaries would meet on ‘mutually convenient dates’ to be followed by another meeting of the two leaders on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt in July.
‘The two foreign secretaries will meet at mutually convenient dates and discuss the steps to be taken on either side to deal with extremism and terrorism and from those discussions the political leadership will re-engage at Sharm-el-Sheikh (Egypt),’ Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said after the meeting.
The one-to-one meeting between President Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which began with a ‘warm handshake’ lasted for about an hour. Singh said Zardari had told him that Pakistan was sincere, but had stressed the difficulties his government is facing and had sought ‘some time.’
‘It is essential that strong and effective steps are taken by Pakistan against the enemies of peace,’ Singh was quoted as telling journalists accompanying him on his way back from Russia.
Singh said if the Pakistani leadership shows ‘courage, determination and statesmanship to take the high road to peace, India will meet it more than half the way.’ He added that he has ‘spoken before also about my vision of a cooperative sub-continent and the vital interest people of the sub-continent have in peace. For this, we must try again to make peace with Pakistan,’ the Press Trust of India quoted him as saying.
Earlier in Russia, Mr Mehmood Qureshi and Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and National Security Adviser N.K Naraynan joined the two leaders for a photo session.
Mr Qureshi replied in the negative when asked if the engagement between the two foreign secretaries was part of the composite dialogue process, but said, ‘it is a positive step forward.’
He termed the meeting between the two leaders a ‘positive development’ and said ‘the only sensible course was to talk to each other’. He said the people of South Asia wanted peace, security and development and wanted the two nations to live in harmony.
The Foreign Office in a statement issued after the talks said ‘the two leaders among other things discussed the question of resumption of the composite dialogue. Pakistan believes that the resumption of composite dialogue, and addressing seriously and with sincerity, a range of issues, is the only way forward.’ Asked if Pakistan would raise the water dispute with India, the foreign minister said that all contentious issues could be raised when the talk process began.
‘The president reiterated the desire of the government of Pakistan to cooperate with India in bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. It is imperative that the Pakistan-India joint anti-terrorism mechanism be re-activated.’
The president expressed the hope that Pakistan’s relations with India would enter a new era and the existing outstanding issues and disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir, would be resolved. The statement said that Pakistan remained committed to friendly and good neighbourly relations with India.
‘My mandate is to tell you that Pakistani territory should not be used for terrorism against India,’ the Press Trust of India quoted Prime Minister Singh as telling President Zardari.
It said that after Mr Singh’s comments Mr Zardari immediately asked journalists to be escorted from the room so the meeting could be continued in private.
PTI reported that Mr Singh was also understood to have conveyed India’s ‘unhappiness’ over Pakistani inaction against terrorism aimed at India. Mr Singh also expressed disappointment over the release of Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed suspected by India of being among the masterminds of the Mumbai attacks.
The two countries have already completed four rounds of the composite dialogue, but the fifth round was halted by India after the Mumbai attacks in November last year.
President Zardari and Prime Minister Singh were in Russia to attend as observers the summit of SCO that groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The two leaders last met in Sept 2008 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York.—Agencies
PM’s wishlist: Peace with Pak, end of terrorism
Posted: Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 1608 hrs IST| www.indianexpress.com
A day after he met Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in Yekaterinburg, Singh said if the Pakistani leadership shows “courage, determination and statesmanship to take the high road to peace, India will meet it more than half the way”.
Singh said Zardari had told him that he was sincere in fighting terrorism but he talked about difficulties his government is facing in tackling the menace and sought “some time” in this regard.
“I have spoken before also about my vision of a cooperative sub-continent and the vital interest people of the sub-continent have in peace. For this, we must try again to make peace with Pakistan. But for this regard.
“I have spoken before also about my vision of a cooperative sub-continent and the vital interest people of the sub-continent have in peace. For this, we must try again to make peace with Pakistan. But for this, it is essential that strong and effective steps are taken by Pakistan against the enemies of peace,” Singh told journalists accompanying him on his way back after attending two multilateral summits.