Days after PM-Sharif talks,Pranab does hardtalk of his own

Mukherjee's comments were made in an interview published Friday in Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman.

Written by D K Singh | Brussels | Published:October 5, 2013 3:37 am

President Pranab Mukherjee has said that India and Pakistan cannot talk about “other developments” unless Islamabad dismantles the infrastructure of terror created on its territory,days after Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif held talks and took the first tentative steps to put the peace process back on track.

Related: Singh,Sharif meet a ‘miracle’: Pakistan media

Mukherjee’s comments were made in an interview published Friday in Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman,on the eve of his arrival in Istanbul for a three-day visit.

The interview was conducted on Monday,a day after Singh and Sharif met in New York and agreed to have their DGMOs work out a way to maintain the ceasefire on the Line of Control.

Mukherjee said India appreciated Sharif’s friendly gestures towards it after assuming office earlier this year and that there was a “commonality in our approach”.

Related: Pak moots dialogue on LoC violence involving both armies

“We do believe that we can expand our cooperation in trade,investment,economic sectors,but for that the appropriate conducive atmosphere must be there. And we are not demanding anything more,we demand of Pakistan that ‘the infrastructures created by the terrorist outfits in your territories,dismantle them! Keep your commitments to India,don’t allow terrorists to use your land to perpetrate their nefarious activities on India’,” the President said.

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“Unless that atmosphere is created,how could you talk about other developments? Therefore,we do hope that what Nawaz Sharif stated,he will try to implement that,” he added.

Mukherjee,who has been the defence and the external affairs minister in the UPA government,said there were institutional arrangements between India and Pakistan to manage ties and that Pakistan had way back in 2004 committed that it would not allow its territory to be used by forces inimical to India.

Pak wants strong relations with India: Sharif

“But most of the terrorist activities are emanating from the territories under the control of Pakistan. Therefore in the recent talks…between the Prime Ministers,Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif,India has highlighted emphasis on these aspects,” he said.

The President reaffirmed that New Delhi was committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Islamabad but for “this dialogue to progress meaningfully,an environment free from cross-border terrorism and violence along the Line of Control is an essential prerequisite”.

“Let the appropriate atmosphere be created. The actual Line of Control on which the ceasefire exists,it has been violated,” Mukherjee said,adding that peace needs to return and “serious effort should be made by Pakistan”.

Mukherjee also said that people of India expect Pakistan will show tangible movement in investigating and bringing to justice quickly those Pakistanis responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008.

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