'Mistrust impeded Indo-Pak dialogue'



`Mistrust impeded Indo-Pak dialogue` New Delhi: As it is set to resume talks with Pakistan after a 17-month hiatus, India on Sunday said the 26/11 attack had contributed hugely in creating mistrust between the two countries and had that trust deficit been "managed", the dialogue could have gone "way forward".

The 26/11 attacks were a direct attack on India by Pakistani nationals. "That made a huge difference. Mistrust had come in," government sources said.

"The trust deficit has to be addressed. If only trust deficit had been managed, we could have gone way forward in our dialogue," the sources said.

Apparently seeking to justify the decision to restart the dialogue stalled after Mumbai attacks, the sources said the body language of Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Thimphu last month was different than that witnessed in Sharm-el Sheikh in July lat year.

"In Sharm-el-Sheikh, the body language was stiff, while in Thimphu the body language indicated their (Pakistan's) seriousness in pursuing dialogue," they said.

After the talks between the two Prime Ministers in the Egyptian capital in July last year, a joint statement was issued which delinked dialogue from terrorism. However, dialogue was not resumed as India insisted that Pakistan should take "concrete" and "credible" actions to bring to justice all perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

At the landmark meeting in Thimphu on April 29, the two Prime Ministers decided that their Foreign Ministers and Foreign Secretaries would meet to discuss modalities to reduce the trust deficit affecting the bilateral ties.

In pursuance to the decision in Thimphu, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation on May 11.

It was decided that Krishna will travel to Pakistan on July 15 for talks on a range of issues.

On India's role in Afghanistan, the sources said that India saw itself as a friendly country doing its own little bit to rebuild infrastructure in the war-torn nation.

"We don't want to get involved in Afghanistan. We want to keep a respectable distance," they said.

Asked about talks with Taliban as part of efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan, they said in this regard the initiative has to be taken by the Afghan leadership.

However, they pointed out that India had expressed its reservations on dialogue with Taliban at it believed there could be no "good Taliban".

PTI