Progress of Pakistani investigations into the gruesome 26/11 carnage in Mumbai last year was the ‘focal point’ of discussions when External Affairs Minister SM Krishna met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi at a New York Hotel on Sunday.
The keenly awaited talks, held on the margins of the UN General Assembly, were the first top level contact between the two countries since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh his Pakistani counterpart at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in July.
With the future of bilateral ties hinging on the outcome of the Pakistani probe into the Mumbai carnage the Indian side urged Pakistan to speed up the probe into the involvement of its citizens into the terror strikes.
“The process must gather further momentum,” Krishna told reporters after the meeting, he said that he was informed that the trial of seven Pakistani militants blamed for the Mumbai terror attacks “will begin shortly”.
“We will be monitoring steps on that score very carefully,” he said.
While terming the trial as “the beginning of a process” Krishna added that “a crime of the magnitude committed in Mumbai would not have been done by seven individuals. There were forces behind them.”
He asked Pakistan to “look into groups” backing the perpetrators.
India staggered the composite dialogue process between the two countries in the aftermath of the terror strikes that killed at least 166 and wounded more than 300 people.
While Islamabad seeks the early reinstatement of the dialogue process India has repeatedly stonewalled the overtures linking the talks to the progress of Pakistani probe into the involvement of its citizens in the terror strikes, arguably the worst in this part of the world.
Speaking after the talks, Qureshi said that the formal trial against the seven Pakistani suspects would begin on October 3 and that his country wanted to see the trial to its “logical conclusion.” But said that the two countries cannot confine dialogue to just one issue – terrorism and Mumbai.