February 26, 2009
Visionmp.com news service
Foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon on Thursday met his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir for the first secretary level interaction between the two countries since the audacious 2611 terror attacks in Mumbai.
At the meeting, held on the sidelines of the SAARC foreign ministers’ conclave in Colombo, India clarified that the neighbours could revert to “business” only after the architects of the macabre attacks are brought to justice by Islamabad.
The meeting gains significance as it punctuated the pause brought on the composite dialogue process between the two nations by New Delhi after the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai.
India says the attacks were planned by “terror elements” operating out of Pakistani territories and carried out by Pakistani nationals.
While agreeing that relations between the two countries were strained after the attacks, Secretary Menon said: “We do not doubt the sincerity of the civilian government in Pakistan but a lot needs to be done.”
He added that though, Pakistan was keen to revert to talks but added that it was not possible for India to continue the process after Mumbai.
Secretary Menon iterated that people to people contact between the two countries had not been curbed, but two primary issues were yet to be resolved.
“The perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks would have to be brought to justice,” he said before adding “credible action against the terror infrastructure in Pakistan would have to be carried out.”
He said signs of resolving the first issue were visible when Pakistan coming out with the first investigation report into the terror act on February 12.
“They have started a legal process,” he said. “With the filing of the charge-sheet (on Wednesday), we have also started. (In that context), no time frame can be given.”
Menon said that though, Pakistan had been “saying the right things but we will have to judge them by what they do”.