Krishna-Qureshi talks begin in Islamabad

India wants to take up David Headley`s confessions about ISI`s role in 26/11 with Pakistan.

Zeenews Bureau

Islamabad: The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan met here Thursday for talks aimed at opening a new chapter in bilateral relations.

Speaking to reporters, just before he went in to hold one-on-one discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign minister SM Krishna said that he is looking forward to the talks and was satisfied with the way they are progressing.

Krishna also said that the informal talks he held with Qureshi, yesterday night, was “free and frank”.

After their meeting, both the leaders will hold delegation level talks and may hold a joint press conference.

During his three-day visit, besides the talks with Qureshi, the Indian Foreign Minister will try to find areas of convergence between the two countries and also focus on Confidence Building Measures in the areas of people-to-people contact, exchange of prisoners and bilateral trade.

But topping New Delhi`s agenda are Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley`s revelations on the ISI`s role in 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Headley had told India`s National Investigation Agency (NIA) team that the ISI was literally controlling and coordinating the attacks from the beginning till the end.

Right after landing in Islamabad, yesterday, Krishna made it clear that India expects Pakistan to act on these revelations. He minced no words about India`s expectations of "some movement" from Islamabad on the issue of terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

Pakistan, he emphasised, cannot find fault with the interrogation of Headley as it was also done by the US` FBI.

Krishna`s focus on Headley assumes significance in the backdrop of comments attributed to Indian Home Secretary GK Pillai that evidence based on his interrogation showed that ISI and Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Hafeez Saeed played "a much more significant role" in Mumbai terror attacks than was thought earlier.

The External Affairs Minister also made it clear that anti-India tirade by Hafeez Saeed and other Jihadi leaders would not "smoothen" Indo-Pak ties. Saeed has been consistently making speeches to provoke the people of Pakistan against India, he said.

Pakistan, on the other hand, looks set to raise the Kashmir issue once again. Infact, Qureshi has made it clear that he would raise the issue of alleged human rights violation in Jammu and Kashmir.

However, Krishna has made it clear that it was an internal issue and "we don`t have to answer any other country".

The two Foreign Ministers have been tasked by their Prime Ministers, who met in Thimphu in April, to bridge the trust deficit and increase confidence in the relationship.

The visit takes place in the backdrop of weeks of violence in Kashmir valley, in which the Indian establishment sees involvement of elements from across the Line of Control.

Although Thursday`s talks are not being described as Composite Dialogue, India will not shy away from discussing any issue concerning the bilateral ties.

Afghanistan may be another important subject for discussion between Krishna and Qureshi. India has pumped in over USD one billion in assistance to the war-torn country and is unwilling to cede any strategic space to Pakistan.

With PTI inputs

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