Bashir’s brief from Pak Army: India

India on Thursday rubbished as ‘rhetoric and point scoring’ the press conference held by Salman Bashir and said the Pakistan Army had briefed him for the talks.

Updated: Feb 25, 2010, 23:36 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Sharply reacting to Pakistan’s diatribe at the end of the Foreign Secretary talks, India on Thursday rubbished as ‘rhetoric and point scoring’ the press conference held by Salman Bashir and said the Pakistan Army had briefed him for the talks.

At the end of his talks with Nirupama Roy, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary held a press conference and said Kashmir was the core issue between India and Pakistan and that the dossier provided by India against Hafiz Saeed was ‘literature’.

India pointed out that it has given enough evidence and
"not mere literature" as claimed by Pakistan and wants
Pakistan to act against him.

They said Rao had invited her Pakistani counterpart for
the talks with an "open mind" and India`s point of view had
been conveyed in a "mature" manner.

India now hopes Pakistan would also respond in a mature
manner and act on India`s concerns with regard to terrorism,
which would determine whether the trust could be built or not.

"Proof of pudding is in eating," the sources said,
adding India would watch whether Pakistan acts as it would be
crucial for incremental progress in relations. India, however,
has not set any "benchmarks" for Pakistan.

Noting that India has always believed that the door for
talks should not be shut, the sources said it feels that the
Foreign Secretary-level talks were "one small step" aimed at
restoring trust that has been eroded by Mumbai attacks.

On failure of Pakistan to act against Jamaat-ud Dawa
chief Hafiz Saeed, the sources said India wonders whether it was because he
"knows too much" or was a part of Pakistani establishment.

The Indian sources also rejected Pakistan`s contention
that it does not have laws to prosecute Hafiz Saeed merely on
the basis of his provocative speeches.
They pointed out that Pakistan had amended its
anti-terror law last year, giving it more powers to act in
such cases.

Government sources expressed anger at what the Secretary said and dismissed it as ‘grandstanding’ that India will not indulge in. “We are not desperate for dialogue, they are,” they said.

Rejecting his information that Kashmir had dominated the talks that were held for the first time since 26/11, govt sources said 85% of the time was devoted to terror against India.

They further said Bashir was acting on the basis of a brief given to him by ‘GHQ (General Headquarters of Army) and
men in khaki’ while Roy had instructions from a democratically elected government.

"The tone and tenor of the talks was good... But we are
surprised at point scoring by Pakistan," the Indian government
sources said.

With regard to the Pakistan Foreign Secretary`s view that
his country was "not desperate" for dialogue, the sources said
even India was not desperate.

They went on to add that dialogue should not be measured
in terms of desperation etc.

On his observation that Pakistan had seen ‘100s of Mumba (attacks)’, the government emphasised that the former was a victim of the terror of its own creation.

On Bashir`s emphasis on more intelligence-sharing to
prevent terror attacks, the Indian sources questioned
Pakistan`s "will" to extend "meaningful cooperation".

It was pointed out that seven dossiers of evidence had
been given earlier with regard to Mumbai attacks but Pakistan
was yet to unveil the full conspiracy of Mumbai attacks.

The sources also rubbished Bashir`s point that India did
not provide any information "officially" with regard to David
Coleman Headley and Tahawur Rana, LeT operatives with
Pakistani roots, who had played a key role in Mumbai attacks.

Bashir earlier said he had come to know through the
press reports that Headley, "some American national", had been
arrested in the US.

Questioning feigning of ignorance by Pakistan on Headley
and Rana, the Indian sources said information relating to them
was in public domain and nothing could be given to Pakistan
officially as there had been no talks since they were arrested
in October last year.

On raking of water issue, India feels that Pakistan is
indulging in propaganda while seeking to convert technical
matters into political matter.

Pakistan`s objections to defence spending by India was
also rubbished, with the sources saying that it was defensive
in nature and not aimed at threatening anyone.

-PTI inputs