Pakistan denies ISI role in Kabul blast, to continue talks (Lead)

October 15th, 2008 - 12:47 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) India and Pakistan Tuesday agreed to continue their dialogue to address all bilateral issues, including cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations, even as Islamabad denied any role of the ISI in the July 7 bombings of the Indian embassy in Kabul.“No. No. No. Incorrect,” Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Mahmud Ali Durrani said when asked to comment on reports alleging that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) masterminded the Kabul blasts.

“I had a very good meeting with the foreign minister… things are going okay,” he told reporters after meeting External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The Kabul bombings will be discussed in detail at the meeting of the joint anti-terror mechanism later this month.

Durrani later called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who stressed the need for an atmosphere free from violence for the success of the dialogue between the two countries.

He also reminded Durrani of Pakistan’s January 2004 pledge not to allow Pakistan’s territory to be used for terror activities against India. The prime minister also expressed concern over a sharp spike in cross-border infiltration and ceasefire violations, sources said.

India Monday brought up the issue of the alleged complicity of the ISI in the Kabul bombings and an increase in ceasefire violations when National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan held delegation-level talks with Durrani.

The two sides also discussed the Kashmir issue and the dispute over the Sir Creek marshlands over which they are said to be inching closer to a settlement.

“The discussions which were held in very cordial atmosphere covered all issues of mutual concern and interest, including the regional situation. The discussions were most productive,” a joint statement said Tuesday night.

“The two National Security Advisors affirmed the utility of a dialogue of this nature and regarded their discussions as providing an important channel of communication between the highest level in the two governments,” it said.

The meetings come in the wake of a meeting between Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in New York last month and statements by Zardari that India posed no threat to Pakistan and that anti-India Kashmir militants were terrorists - a remark that was later retracted by Islamabad’s foreign office establishment

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