New Delhi: Two days after the killing of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, India Wednesday reiterated that talks with Pakistan would continue and expressed concern about the impact of the situation in Afghanistan if coalition forces withdrew early.
There will be no change in the timetable or tenor of dialogue with Pakistan, officials said. "Talks will continue - there is need to normalise relations. Best way is to engage with them."
The world`s most wanted terrorist was killed on the night of May 1-2 by a US security team that raided a mansion in Abbottabad near the Pakistani capital Islamabad he had been living in.
Stating that the killing was a "significant milestone", Indian officials described as "sensational" the fact that Osama was living so close to the capital and just a stone`s throw from the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul.
Government sources said it would be wrong to assume that there would be faster withdrawal of the US and other forces from Afghanistan, as a result of Osama`s elimination.
"Nobody who is committed to Afghanistan would want a precipitous withdrawal of coalition forces," said a senior official.
It was pointed out that the "jihadi mindset" is not so easily discarded. "Now to leave Afghanistan would be repetition of what had happened 20-30 years earlier. The US have learnt the lessons from that," sources said.
India will continue to demand justice for 26/11 Mumbai attacks from Pakistan, but the dialogue process was also essential, it was argued.
"Foreign policy is not wish fulfilment. It has to deal with the realities… We are not being helpless. There is a reasonable, sober way of dealing with neighbour," said official sources.
They also scoffed at Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir`s stating that the demand for justice for 26/11 was outdated. "I don`t think it was a serious statement," said a source.