New Age Islam News Bureau
Thimpu: The day the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan were to meet on the sidelines of the SAARC Council of Ministers’ meeting ‘with an open mind’, as Nirupama Rao put it, Hafiz Sayeed, one of the accused in the Mumbai terror attacks who heads the Lashkar-e-Taiyba warned that if India did not leave Kashmir, it should be ready for war with Pakistan. Though India had chosen to ignore his ‘threats’ as it had done his earlier ones, it showed that Pakistan was not serious in resolving bilateral issues through dialogue by allowing its official and unofficial spokesmen to vitiate the atmosphere before any dialogue between the two countries.
Earlier, the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman made a provocative statement about India’s alleged ‘inability’ to deal with Hindu terrorist elements in the wake of Samjhauta Express blast.
The talks were important because their success would set the stage for the meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in March this year. The talks between the two neighbours had been stalled after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 allegedly by the terrorists of the LeT in connivance with some officers of the Pakistani army and ISI agents.
Ahead of the meeting the Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gilani also expressed his obsession with Kashmir and made it clear that the Kashmir issue would be central on their agenda though India’a Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao indicated that the Foreign Secretaries’ talks would be of an exploratory nature and various other issues of mutual interest like Visa, fishermen, trade, commerce, security, terrorism and cross border confidence building measures would be discussed but had also made it clear that India would adopt a step-by-step approach.
India has expressed its concern over the delay on the part of Pakistan in bringing the culprits of 26/11 to book. On the other hand India has made a significant headway in the Samjhauta Express, Ajmer and Malegaon blasts investigations and some of the accused are behind bars. But Pakistan is yet to take action against LeT head and operatives despite India giving ample proof of their involvement.
According to sources, the resumption of full fledged dialogue between the two countries after it was stalled due to the Mumbai attack will depend on Pakistan punishing those involved in it. The Mumbai attacks are one of the issues under discussion between the home ministries of the two countries and future relations will hinge on it.
The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed his vision that India wants to see the whole South Asia a region of co-prosperity and rapid development and wants to take Pakistan along on the path of development but Pakistan should also reciprocate the gesture and efforts. Pakistan should remember that lasting peace between the two countries is in the interests of both the countries and it cannot be achieved by threats of war directly or indirectly.