India to Pakistan: No dialogue until credible action (Lead)

March 30th, 2009 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) Ruling out any mediation by a third party, India Monday made it clear that it will not resume the stalled composite dialogue with Pakistan unless there is “credible action” by Islamabad against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil.
India also condemned the terrorist attack in Lahore and described terrorism as “a menace” to the region.

“There is no point in setting down time-frame or concrete markers. We want to see credible action against terrorism,” Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters here.

He was responding to a question on whether India has set any criteria or preconditions before resuming dialogue with Pakistan which paused after the Mumbai terror attacks in November last year.

India suspects the hand of Pakistani nationals and its agencies in the Mumbai terror attack that killed over 170 people, including 22 foreigners.

“We want to see credible action against the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan from where Mumbai attacks and earlier attacks in India were carried out.”

“We want to see the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks being brought to justice,” Menon said when asked to be more specific about the kind of actions India was expecting from Pakistan before it could resume the dialogue process.

“It’s not a matter of quibbling over markers. The world knows what we mean when we say credible action. We are waiting,” he said when asked about Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s emphasis on the need for early resumption of composite dialogue between the two countries.

Rejecting any external attempt to pressurise India into resuming dialogue with Pakistan, Menon pointed out that the India-Pakistan process has been “more successful” when it’s been on bilateral track.

“It is hard for any external source to replace” the bilateral process, he said when asked about US President Barack Obama’s new policy statement on the Afghanistan-Pakistan region that includes using “constructive diplomacy” to resolve tensions between India and Pakistan.

This has been interpreted by some as an attempt to pressurise India into restarting the dialogue process with Pakistan.

“We need two hands to clap. Third hand will not be helpful,” Menon stressed.

Menon’s comments are seen as a message to Washington before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh holds his first meeting with the US President on the sidelines of the G20 summit in London Thursday.

The situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan will figure prominently in discussions between the two leaders.

Menon welcomed the new AfPak policy unveiled by Obama last week.

“We welcome a clear will to control terrorism in the region and its roots in Pakistan. India has direct stakes in the success of the international effort,” Menon said.

He, however, struck a cautionary note about the $7.5 billion non-military aid the US plans to give to Pakistan over the next five years. The link between extremist elements and the Pakistan establishment is a cause of worry, he said.

“We are ready to play a constructive role as a responsible power in the region to defeat terrorists and extremists,” he underlined.

Menon condemned Monday’s terrorist attack in Lahore and described terrorism as “a menace” to the region. He, however, warned against “jumping to conclusions” about the identity of the attackers and the motive behind the terrorist incident.

The Government of India is deeply saddened and shocked by the events in Lahore, he said.

A group of terrorists stormed the police training academy in Pakistan’s Lahore city early Monday, killing at least 22 trainees and injuring dozens. Many trainees were held hostage for hours by the militants, some of whom were wearing police uniforms.

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