ISI relents, talks to India

ISI relents, talks to India

The Pak agency chief now involved in 26/11 discussions: PM

ISI relents, talks to India

Disclosing this to mediapersons accompanying him to the G8 and G5 summits in Italy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday:  “Since I held discussions with Zardari Sahib, our High Commissioner had discussions, we had discussions with ISI chief (Lt Gen Shuja Pasha), we had discussions with Pakistan’s Foreign Office.”

 During these discussions, the Pakistani side had given India some suggestions and shared information about the action they were taking to punish the culprits involved in the Mumbai terror attack last November.

“We hope they will go further along the path and with this hope I will be meeting Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (during the NAM summit in Cairo next week), ”  he said. The prime minister, however, did not say who from the Indian side had held discussions with ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha. Immediately after the terror attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had conveyed to the prime minister during their telephonic conversation that he would send the ISI chief to India for cooperation in the investigations but only to go back on it within hours.

In the course of his on-board press conference, Singh significantly clarified that he had not intended to embarrass Zardari during their meeting in Russia on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Russia on June 16.

Media glare

In full media glare at the beginning of that meeting four weeks ago, Manmohan Singh had told Asif Ali Zardari that he limited mandate for the discussion was to tell that Islamabad must fulfill its pledge not to allow its territory for terrorism directed against India.

“Let me say that what I had said to Zardari Sahib, I had not intended to say that in the presence of all the media.”

“I simply forgot that the media were present there. It was not my intention in anyway to hurt Zardari Sahib’s feelings,” the prime minister explained.

Angry reactions

The prime minister’s missive had invited angry reactions in Pakistan.
On the Indo-US relations, the prime minister dispelled the impression that the Obama Presidency was not as good for India as the previous Bush administration.
Singh, who will visit Washington later this year for a summit with President Barack Obama, asserted that there was no basis for “apprehension that the Obama administration will be less sensitive to India’s concerns than the previous US administration.” 

The prime minister also fielded a number of questions on domestic economic and political issues during the course of the press conference.

The prime minister was also very optimistic that the country’s economy would bounce back to record 8-9 per cent growth rate. 

While the prime minister conceded that the recession in the United States and the European Union countries would continue for some more time despite some sort of financial stability, he felt India could bank on the high domestic savings rate of around 35 per cent to regain high growth rate.

The savings rate should support 8-9 per cent growth rate, he said. Manmohan Singh advised the Information Technology (IT) sector to tap the vast untapped domestic business opportunities.

On gay sex

The prime minister, however, ducked a question on his government’s views on the Delhi High Court ruling on Section 377, decriminalising gay sex or if he intended to appeal against the verdict.“I haven’t discussed this matter with my Cabinet Colleagues and when I go back, I will seek their views as to if anything further needs to be done or said in this regard.”

To another question on the controversy over the disparities in the railway surplus between Lalu Prasad’s rail budget of 2008 and the latest budget presented by Mamata Banerjee, the prime minister said the proposed white paper on the issue could throw light on the subject.

He, however, said he had not yet applied his mind on the huge disparity that prompted criticism that Lalu had doctored the high surplus.

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