Restoring ceasefire at LoC is a precondition for continuing talks, India tells Pakistan

Manmohan Singh in his meeting with Nawaz Sharif told his Pakistani counterpart on Sunday that proper talks between the two countries can only be held after the issues of terror are addressed.

Zee Media Bureau
New York: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his meeting with Nawaz Sharif told his Pakistani counterpart on Sunday that proper talks between the two countries can only be held after the issues of terror and cross-border terrorism are addressed. Briefing the media after the two PMs met here, National Security adviser, Shiv Shankar Menon said that terror had topped Manmohan Singh`s agenda in his talks with Nawaz Sharif. He also said that the PM had raised the issue of 26/11 and had stressed that the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks must be brought to book. At the meeting, Singh raised the issue of continued cross-border terrorism and the support groups like Jamaat-ud-Dawa led by Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed get from the Pakistan government. India also told Pakistan to improve the situation on the LoC. "Restoring ceasefire at the LoC is a precondition for continuing talks," the NSA said, adding, "Balochistan was mentioned in the talks and there is no proof of any Indian role there." Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif tasked the DGMOs to come up with a clear plan to restore LOC ceasefire, said Menon. "Both India and Pakistan desire better relationship. The meeting was useful and provided opportunity for high level contact," he added. Nawaz Sharif on his part told the Indian PM that action will be taken against the perpetrators of terrors and that Pakistan was also a victim of terrorist activist, as per the NSA. "Nawaz Sharif promised Manmohan Singh that he will take stern action against 26/11 attackers," Menon said. Visa norms were not discussed in the talks. Nawaz Sharif invited Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan but there was no timeline decided upon on the visit. Manmohan Singh also invited the Pakistani PM to visit India. Sharif drove to Singh`s hotel New York Palace in midtown Manhattan for the meeting. At another briefing five blocks away, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Abbas Jilani described the meeting "extremely positive and useful". "The main purpose was to create a conducive environment to discuss and resolve all outstanding issues," he said. "The two leaders expressed their commitment to resolve all their issues," Jilani said. Prime Minister Singh emphasised that resolution of all issues including Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek was important for bringing peace in the region, he said. He said the two leaders discussed the situation on the LoC and agreed that the accord reached in 2004 should be respected in letter and spirit. Sharif emphasised that the two countries have no option but to sustain peaceful dialogue between them. "Terrorism was discussed. We are aware of your concerns on terrorism, and I think our concerns are also known on the Indian side," Jilani said. Sharif also spoke of "external interference" by India in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan, Jilani said. At his briefing, Menon rejected the allegations of India`s involvement in Balochistan. "There is no evidence. If there is any evidence, we have not seen it." To a Pakistani journalist`s question that India was the epicentre of terror in Pakistan, Menon shot back, "Well, I certainly have not heard of any such concerns. If there is any evidence we will look at it. There is absolutely no evidence of India exporting terror. I wish I can say the same is the reverse." To a question whether the army and Sharif were on the same page, Jilani said: "All institutions in Pakistan are on the same page. There is a misperception on this issue. In Pakistan, the decision-making process is the same as in all democratic countries - all decisions are taken through consensus." Setting the tone for the meeting, the Indian Prime Minister had said at the UN General Assembly yesterday that the "terror machinery" in Pakistan, which receives "sustenance" there, must be shut down to allow progress in the dialogue process. He had said that the "epicentre of terrorism" is in Pakistan and wanted the problem to be addressed. Both the PMs were meeting against the backdrop of the terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir by terrorist from across the border recently. With PTI inputs