Meaningful dialogue will depends on Pak action: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressing  the media as Union External Minister S M Krishna looks on. PTI

Making a statement in the Lok Sabha on the outcome of his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, Singh said "action on terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and therefore cannot await other developments."

BJP was not satisfied, with Leader of Opposition L K Advani charging that India had "conceded" and "capitulated". He then led a BJP walkout from the House.

Singh, who met Gilani at Sharm-el Sheikh in Egypt yesterday, said he had conveyed to the Pakistani leader that "sustained, effective and credible action needs to be taken not only to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice but also to shut down the operations of terrorist groups so as to prevent any future attacks."

Underlining that India seeks cooperative relations with Pakistan and "engagement is the only way forward to realise the vision" of a stable and prosperous South Asia, he said India is "willing to go more than half way provided Pakistan creates the conditions for a meaningful dialogue".
He said "Whether, when and in what form we broaden the dialogue with Pakistan will depend on future developments."

"It has been and remains our consistent position that the starting point of any meaningful dialogue with Pakistan is a fulfillment of their commitment, in letter and spirit, not to allow their territory to be used in any manner for terrorist activities against India," Singh insisted.
He pointed out that Gilani and he himself had agreed that the Foreign Secretaries will meet as often as necessary and report to the two Foreign Ministers who will meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Singh said he had discussed with Gilani the present condition of bilateral ties, the future potential and the steps that are necessary to enable the two countries to realise the potential.
"I conveyed to him (Gilani) the strong sentiments of the people of India over the issue of terrorism, especially the terrorist attacks in Mumbai," the Prime Minister said.
He said Gilani had assured him that Pakistan would "do everything in its power" to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.
BJP, which raised the issue in both Houses, accused the government of reversing the country's long-standing position that dialogue cannot be pursued if terrorism continues.
After Singh's statement, Advani said delinking of terrorism from composite dialogue has been the "demand" of Pakistan and that "we have conceded" seven months after the Mumbai attacks.
"What has happened that made you change the stance?... The government has capitulated," he said.

Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee objected to Advani's queries, saying there is system of seeking clarifications in the Lok Sabha on the Prime Minister's statement.
Unhappy over this, Advani led a walkout of his party members from the House. 
The Prime Minister's statement came after BJP slammed the government in both Houses of Parliament over the outcome of the meeting between Singh and Gilani, saying it was a "reversal" of India's long-standing policy that there would be no dialogue till terrorism, emanating from Pakistan, ends.
The mention, in the Indo-Pak joint statement, that "action on terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and these should not be bracketed" has come as a "surprise and also disappointment", Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said in Rajya Sabha while raising the issue.
He wanted to know what "prompted" the change of stance.
In the Lok Sabha, Deputy Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj raised the matter, terming it as a "serious situation".
Contending that the "nation is concerned since yesterday", she said the government should tell the House as to what happened during Singh's meeting with Gilani in Sharm-el Sheikh in Egypt on the sidelines of the NAM Summit.

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