New Delhi: Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Thursday said that the Indo-Pak talks were constructive, but there is an overriding need to restore trust and confidence between the two nations.
Rao, who arrived for a press briefing directly from the Hyderabad House after talks were extended, revealed that India handed to Pakistan three dossiers – new leads on Mumbai attacks, new threats from Illyas Kashmiri and other terror groups on February 05, and a list of Indian fugitives believed to be in Pakistan including some new names.
“We went into the talks with an open mind, but were also fully conscious of the large trust deficit that exists between the two countries,” she pointed out.
On the line taken by India during the talks, the foreign secretary said, “Our aims were modest, but we spelt forth our concerns on terrorism emanating from Pakistan or the territories under its control.”
“It is the duty of Pakistan to dismantle terror infrastructure targeted against India, said Rao adding, “steps taken by Pakistan to bring perpetrators of Mumbai attacks to justice are not enough.”
Elaborating further on the Indian stand, Rao said that India has stressed on the importance of expeditious action on the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks especially in view of the emergence of new leads from the US - Tahawwur Rana and David Headley.
On a question whether India had put forth its concerns regarding the slow progress of the 26/11 trail in Pakistan “We told them that 26/11 investigations have been not satisfactory, while they responded by saying that they themselves had a spate of terror attacks in their country and were in the process of prosecuting the Mumbai culprits.”
On a question on terror bosses like Hafiz Saeed, she said that India had handed over evidence of people like him who constantly rant about their intentions of perpetrating terror against India. However, she remained discontented with Pakistan’s response that their anti-terror laws did not permit them to take action against individuals who make speeches. “Obviously, we are not satisfied with this position,” she said.
On the issues that were raised by Pakistan, she said that Pakistan did bring up the issue of Balochistan, but could not produce or provide any evidence. We told them firmly that India is not in any way interested in interfering in the internal matters of Pakistan, she added.
“The Kashmir issue also came up briefly, their position was on expected lines but we also stated our national position,” Rao quipped.
Among the other issue that Pakistan raised was the water sharing problem. Nirupama rao said that both the sides appreciated that this was an area that needed to be addressed through the Indus Water Treaty.
India, meanwhile, brought up the issue of beheading of the two Sikhs in Pakistan saying that Pakistan needed to protect its minority communities.
Asked about the conflicting interests of the two countries over Afghanistan, she said, “Afghanistan did not come up during talks.”
The foreign secretary elaborated that Pakistan was in favour of the resumption of the composite dialogue process, but were politely told to wait for the atmosphere to get better before they are resumed.
She said, “We certainly don’t discount the relevance and achievement made by the composite dialogue, but the time is not right to resume as we have to first create a climate of trust and confidence.”
“We are not talking about a road map yet, we are just talking about staying in touch
and exploring ways and means to take our dialogue forward,” she added.
Summing up the day, Rao appeared satisfied with the initial progress made during the talks, “The discussions were useful, detailed, candid; there was good chemistry and transparency between delegations, both the sides gained from it.”
Adding, “We had set out to take a first step to build up trust. The meeting was the first step. We have promised to be in touch.”
Nirupama Rao gave no indication of any further talks at any level. She said that no decision had been taken even on the meetings between the Prime Ministers of the two countries in Thimpu during the SAARC summit. However, she ended by saying that her counterpart has expressed desire for her to visit Pakistan.