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Terrorism focus of talks with Pakistan: India

SM Krishna said India will also take up Headley`s revelations about ISI`s terror links.



New Delhi: Terrorism will be the "central point" of New Delhi`s agenda when the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Secretaries meet in Islamabad on Thursday, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said on Monday, adding that India will also take up the issue of Lashkar-e-Toiba operative David Coleman Headley`s revelations about the terror links of Pakistan`s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

He admitted at the same time that incidents like the confrontation at sea between a Pakistani and an Indian naval warship could become an irritant in the talks.

"Of course, terrorism is the central point of our interaction with Pakistan," Krishna told reporters before leaving for Myanmar on a three-day visit.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will be in Islamabad from June 23 to 25 for talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir.

"This menace (of terrorism) has to be dealt with firmly and in a transparent manner for the common good of India and Pakistan and the region beyond," Krishna said.

But he underlined that "in the kind of talks we are going to be involved with, patience is something to be called for".

Krishna also asserted that India will raise the issue of Headley`s revelations during the foreign secretaries` meeting.

"Whatever Headley has revealed under oath in a court of law in Chicago, would be relevant for the government of India to take up with Pakistan and then try to get Pakistan`s response to that. Well, that certainly will be taken up with Pakistan," Krishna said.

Headley, who has pleaded guilty to his role in the Mumbai terror attack, claimed that the ISI and LeT separately gave him identical instructions to scout Mumbai locations to be attacked.

Besides, the two foreign secretaries are expected to talk on various subjects, including the Kashmir dispute.

"We have to be patient, realistic and positive. As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said on more than one occasion, peace and prosperity of South Asia is interlinked," Krishna said.

The minister sounded unhappy over the recent brush between an Indian and a Pakistani warship in the Gulf of Aden.

Pakistan says that its PNS Babar was escorting to Oman an Egyptian carrier freed by Somali pirates on June 14 when INS Godavari came dangerously close by. The incident led Pakistan to protest -- and India to deny the accusation.

"It is not desirable that such instances (take place)... On one hand, we are trying to improve our relationship, on other hand, such solitary instance takes place which become cause for irritant for the talks.”

"If there is any misunderstanding between the two countries on this score, I think it is necessary to sort them out," he said.

Krishna also expressed frustration at the pace of the trial in Pakistan against some masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

"Our trial (of sole surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab) has concluded and an appeal is pending before the Supreme Court. And virtually, their trial has not even started. I think examination of witness has begun yet. It is a sad commentary on what is happening there," he said.

Krishna added that India has been constantly raising this point with Pakistan.

"Whatever occasion we get, we always convey that it is necessary that the trial should be hastened. The process should become quicker and the people who are involved in the heinous crime against Mumbai and India should be brought to justice," the Foreign Minister said.

Krishna added that India will also keep "pursuing" the extradition of Indian nationals taking refuge in Pakistan, including underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

On the reported talks with Taliban, Krishna reasserted that this should be within the "redlines" prescribed by the international community.

IANS

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