India to have 'limited talks' with Pakistan

New Delhi is not satisfied with Islamabads action against terrorism

However, there will be no resumption of substantive talks but only “limited dialogue” with Pakistan. So, the composite dialogue (CD) will not take place for some time, as India is not satisfied with the action that Islamabad has taken against terror.

The foreign ministers of the two countries are likely to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September. This, in a sense, will be a continuation of the meeting between the foreign secretaries who recently met (in Egypt).

Informed sources said: “India’s position remained the same — that there can be no dialogue till Pakistan takes action to end cross-border terrorism on the same lines as it has done against Taliban.”

India believes that by starting a limited dialogue with Pakistan at the foreign secretary-level, New Delhi has brought the focus back on terrorism. Pakistan arrested a few terrorists and under intense international and Indian pressure, it firewalled some proclaimed offenders of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. However, this is not enough and the CD cannot resume unless Pakistan takes more concrete steps to dismantle terrorist infrastructure and rein in anti-India terrorists flourishing on its soil.

“It is a long way to go before we begin the CD as we are dealing with dysfunctional and multiple power centres in Pakistan,” sources said.

As for the uproar against the issue of Balochistan cropping up in the joint statement (JS), the government is clear that its intentions were clean and sees an advantage in it.

Sources said it was Pakistan which wanted to discuss an “internal” issue and India had no problem with it. “By bringing up an internal issue at the talks, Pakistan has
internationalised it. “No one from the international community has so far pointed fingers at India for its alleged involvement in Pakistan’s poorest province of Balochistan,” the sources added.

The JS, issued after the July 16 meeting of Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Egypt, created a furore in Parliament, as it sought to delink action against terror from the CD and brought in Balochistan which had never figured so far in JS or agreements. These sources rubbished the reports in Pakistani media that Gilani handed over a dossier on Balochistan. “The only dossier that was provided was on action taken by Islamabad against the proclaimed offenders behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.” The document given by Pakistan included the photographs and biodata of proclaimed offenders. Nor was any dossier provided to India during the meeting between the PM and Pak president Asif Zardari in Russia on June 16.

Balochistan has a different connotation in Pakistan when spoken of in the Indian context.

Pakistan blames New Delhi for fomenting trouble in the restive Balochistan. According to the sources, no government and RAW officials have been arrested so far in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi convened a meeting of top party leaders at her residence on Friday to facilitate Singh to explain why he had issued the joint statement with Gilani and to assess its political fallout.

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