India puts Pakistan to terror test, sets mid-July deadline (Lead)

June 17th, 2009 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Manish Chand
On Board Air India One, June 17 (IANS) A day after his meeting with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in Russia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday put Pakistan to the ‘terrorism test’ and said he had agreed to give Islamabad “some time” to take action against anti-India terror outfits before the two leaders meet again in Egypt mid-July.

Disclosing the details of his first meeting with Zardari since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg Tuesday, Manmohan Singh said he told the president that India expected Pakistan to show the same “sincerity and determination” against these terror outfits as it had in tackling the Taliban and the Al Qaeda on its western flanks.

Signalling his willingness to make another effort at making peace with Pakistan, the prime minister said he would wait for the outcome of the talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries, who are expected to meet later this month, before taking a decision on resuming the composite dialogue mid-July.

“The purpose of this meeting (between foreign secretaries) is to find what Pakistan has done and what it plans to do on terrorist activities against India,” Manmohan Singh told reporters on board his special plane while returning home from the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

“I told him that we will like to see tangible steps. There is a time. We will take stock of the situation,” he replied when asked if there was a timeline for resuming the talks before he meets Zardari again on the sidelines of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Egypt July 15-16.

The decision to depute the foreign secretaries to discuss terrorism was taken at the Yekaterinburg ice-breaker meeting that lasted for 40 minutes.

It started with Manmohan Singh telling Zardari upfront that India expected Pakistan not to allow its territory to be used for terror attacks against it.

“Zardari told me the problems and difficulties he faces and said he needed more time (to tackle terror). I explained to him why Pakistan has taken effective action against Taliban and Al Qaeda. We have a strong feeling that the elements who perpetrated terror attacks against India are not being brought to justice,” he said while drawing an important distinction with Pakistan’s crackdown on the Taliban militants, reportedly under Western pressure.

“We wish Pakistan well in dealing with the Al Qaeda and Taliban. I would like Pakistan to show the same sincerity and determination in dealing with terrorists who operate against us from their side,” he said.

“We discussed India-Pakistan relations which remain under considerable stress and strain. The primary cause, as explained earlier, are terrorist attacks in India from the Pakistan territory.”

“The government of Pakistan needs to take firm and strong action to prevent terror attacks against India, to bring to justice those involved in the Mumbai massacre and to dismantle the infrasructure of terrorism,” the prime minister replied when asked whether he was looking for specific markers before taking the crucial decision on whether to resume the dialogue process with Pakistan next month.

Unveiling his vision of a cooperative subcontinent, Manmohan Singh said it was in the interests of the two countries and the region to make another effort at making peace.

“I have spoken before also about my vision of a cooperative subcontinent and the vital interest people of the subcontinent have in peace. For this, we must try again to make peace with Pakistan.”

“But for this, it is essential that strong and effective steps are taken by Pakistan against the enemies of peace,” said Manmohan Singh.

“If the Pakistani leadership shows courage, determination and statesmanship to take the high road to peace, India will meet it more than half the way,” the prime minister said, echoing his policy speech in parliament June 9.

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