PM, Cong talk tough on Pakistan

Cong conclave: Islamabad must address core concern of New Delhi on the issue of terrorism

Noting that India’s relation with Pakistan had been ‘tense’, Singh said that New Delhi wanted friendly relation with Islamabad. “But, we know, this (a friendly relation between India and Pakistan) will be possible only when our neighbour will see to it that its territory is not used for terrorist activities against us,” he added.

The prime minister was addressing the Congress 83rd plenary session at Burari on the outskirts of Delhi. Referring to “great potential of working together with China, especially in economic matters”, Singh acknowledged that New Delhi had some “outstanding issues” with Beijing, but expressed hope that those could be “resolved in an atmosphere of friendship”.

The Congress that leads the ruling UPA in the Centre also said that Pakistan must address core concern of India on the issue of terrorism for the sake of a friendly relation between the two neighbours.

“Pakistan must deliver with sincerity in its assurances to dismantle the terror outfits, not to allow the use of its territory for terror attacks in India and bring to justice the masterminds and perpetrators responsible for the carnage in Mumbai on November 26, 2008,” the ruling party said in a resolution on foreign policy adopted at its plenary session.

Negative impact

The Congress in its resolution also noted that the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai “negatively impacted the relationship between India and Pakistan” in which New Delhi had “invested a great deal over the years for the sake of peace” in the region. The resolution was moved by senior Congress leader and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.

The Congress, however, stated that India’s engagement with China had been marked with a spirit of strategic cooperation. It welcomed intensification of New Delhi-Beijing ties as well as that between itself and the Communist Party of China.

China being “a large neighbour and the largest trading partner” of India, the two countries have “commonalities of interest and the future can be meaningfully rewarding through a spirit of partnership,” the party said in the resolution, noting that the Memorandum of Understanding between the Congress and the CPC paved the way for regular leadership exchanges from both sides.

The party said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent visit to India and his meeting with Singh had helped “create a better understanding between the political leadership”.

Singh’s remarks and the stern talks about Pakistan in the resolution of the ruling Congress indicated New Delhi’s return to a tough line on prospects of its future talks with Islamabad, at a time when uncertainty looms large over Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to India.

The post 26/11 chill between India and Pakistan seemed to have ended with Singh’s meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in Thimphu. The two PMs had agreed that the foreign ministers of both the countries would meet and try to lessen the ‘trust deficit’.

Though his parleys with Qureshi in Islamabad in July had failed to make any significant headway, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had invited Qureshi to visit India for the next round of talks.

While diplomats of India and Pakistan have since been in touch to finalise a date for Qureshi’s visit to New Delhi, uncertainty still prevails as both sides are yet to narrow down their differences on possible deliverables. The diplomats of both the countries are understood to be discussing several dates in early 2011 for the visit, although New Delhi is not expecting any breakthrough.

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