PM asks Zardari to close 26/11 trial soon

Pressed for an expeditious conclusion of 26/11 trial

Pushing Pakistan to act against India-directed terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday told President Asif Ali Zardari that expeditious conclusion of the Mumbai terror attack trial in that country will be a “major” Confidence Building Measure (CBM) in bilateral relations.

During a meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the 16th NAM summit, Singh underlined India’s terrorism-related concerns.

The prime minister “pressed for an expeditious conclusion in 26/11 trial and said action taken in this sphere (terrorism) would be a major CBM,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters.

Singh was accompanied by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and other senior officials while Zardari had his son Bilawal Bhutto, Foreign Affairs Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Interior Minister Rehman Malik on his team.

Singh told Zardari that action in Mumbai attack trial in Pakistan will be a major CBM, helping to bridge trust deficit and build public support for the kind of relationship India would like to see between the two nations.

Zardari reiterated his invitation to prime minister to visit Pakistan and Singh thanked him for the gracious invite.

“The prime minister said he attached great importance to normalising relations with Pakistan and that he would like to visit that country at a suitable time, that is to say, he would like a well-prepared visit,” Mathai said.

Reiterating India’s desire for peaceful cooperative relations with Pakistan, Singh said there is a need to proceed in a “step-by-step, graduated” approach given the complexity of bilateral relationship it has with Pakistan.

Mathai said Zardari reiterated his country’s commitment to bringing to justice those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Zardari agreed that terrorism posed a continuing threat to peace and security and referred, in this regard, to some of the difficulties faced by his own country.

The meeting came a day after the Indian Supreme Court upheld LeT terrorist Ajmal Kasab’s death sentence in the Mumbai terror attack case, strengthening India’s case for action against others involved in the 26/11 strike in which 166 people were killed.

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