No talks till Pak acts on terror: PM

No talks till Pak acts on terror: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Pakistan's PM Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt on Thursday. PTI

On his part, Pakistani prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani his feeling was that India was “convinced” that the “way forward” was dialogue. He said he told Singh that terrorism and the Mumbai attacks should not be bracketed with dialogue. “All core issues that were pending under the composite dialogue should be discussed... That should not be bracketed with this Mumbai incident,”Gilani said.

But, Singh disagreed when pointed out that Pakistan’s projection was that the composite dialogue will not be held hostage to terror incidents. “That’s not my interpretation,” he said. However, a joint statement issued after the second top-level meeting since the Mumbai terror attacks said: “Both the prime ministers recognised that dialogue is the only way forward. Action on terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and these should not be bracketed.”

During the two-hour-long meeting, which virtually signalled a thaw in relations that had soured after the November 26, 2008 attacks, the two sides agreed to “create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence”. There was no mention of Kashmir in the statement which, however, said that Singh expressed India’s readiness to “discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues”. Under the composite dialogue process, Kashmir is one of the issues.

The delinking of composite dialogue with terrorism is seen as a climbdown by India as it has all along maintained that dialogue cannot be held till there was concrete action against terrorism emanating from Pakistan. Later, addressing a press conference, Singh was at pains to clarify that “the composite dialogue process cannot resume unless and until terrorist acts, like the one which shook Mumbai, are accounted for.”

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