India has realistic expectations from talks with Pak

New Delhi wants a satisfactory closure of Mumbai attacks case

India has realistic expectations from talks with Pak

India will once again ask Pakistan to expedite the trial of the seven 26/11 plotters, even as the Foreign Secretary-level talks scheduled later this week has been overshadowed by a close brush between the countries’ warships  in the Gulf of Aden on Thursday.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will hold parleys with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Islamabad on Thursday and Friday, in which India is likely to step up pressure on Pakistan to ‘expeditiously’ bring the 26/11 case to “a satisfactory closure” and address its core concern on terrorism.

The two Foreign Secretaries are also expected to discuss Peace and Security including Confidence Building Mechanisms and Jammu and Kashmir. The Foreign Secretary-level dialogue comes close on the heels of India and Pakistan trading charges on the reported dangerous and risky ‘manoeuvres’ carried out by the other's warships in the Gulf of Aden. India’s INS Godavari and Pakistan’s PNS Babar were in the Gulf to escort an Egyptian ship M V Suez, released by Somali pirates on June 14, to Oman. They allegedly brushed against each other.

Government sources in New Delhi said that PNS Babur had engaged in similar risky manoeuvres posing threat to Indian warships at least twice earlier --in November last year and January this year.

The Foreign Secretaries will review the status of the existing nuclear CBMs between India and Pakistan. The existing mechanisms include prior missile notification mechanism and annual exchange of list of nuclear installations in the respective countries.

They will also review the outcomes of the series of talks New Delhi and Islamabad held between March 28 and June 3 last – marking the resumption of the structured dialogue, which India suspended soon after the 26/11 carnage.

Official sources in New Delhi told mediapersons that India’s concerns on the issue of terrorism emanating from Pakistan had not, in any way, diminished by the resumption of dialogue. They pointed out that the dialogue had been resumed as it would keep the chain of communication open.

They said that New Delhi was approaching the talks with “an open mind and a realistic expectation” and aware of the fact that no dramatic outcome was possible. Pakistani Foreign Office last week made a subtle attempt to drop discussions on terrorism including the 26/11 attacks from the agenda of the Foreign Secretary-level talks.

It also apparently intended to pre-empt any attempt by Rao to take up with Bashir the exposures made by detained Pakistani-American LeT operative David Coleman Headley during the trial of his childhood friend Tahawwur Hussain Rana in a court in Chicago for plotting terrorist attacks in Denmark and India, which exposed the ISI role in the 26/11 attacks.

New Delhi countered the move and made it clear that the talks “would naturally cover all issues of mutual concern, including the continuing threat posed by terrorism.”

According to the sources, New Delhi would once again convey to Islamabad its concerns over “glacial pace” of the trial of the seven LeT operatives, who had been arrested by the Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency in connection with the 26/11 attacks.

Sources said India had already given to Pakistan all documents related to the case sought by the latter to prosecute the seven in the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, with the latest set of documents, including seizure memos and others, which were handed over just a few days ago.

They also said that India had agreed to receive the judicial commission from Pakistan, but Islamabad was yet to move forward on it.

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