Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs first meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Sunday,Pakistan has proposed the setting up of a specific dialogue on violence along the Line of Control,involving military representatives on both sides.
The proposal,sources said,was floated about a month ago as a foreign secretary-level conversation. It was then repackaged as a mechanism,including representatives of the foreign office and military on both sides. South Block,however,has so far been sceptical about the idea.
While the two PMs could indeed direct their foreign ministers or foreign secretaries to meet and discuss specific proposals to maintain tranquillity the basis of the peace process along the LoC,the lead-up to the meeting has not indicated any major progress.India has hardened its stance in the wake of recent terror attacks,even though Pakistan is indicating movement on liberalising trade and speeding up the 26/11 trials. India wants Pakistan to conduct weekly hearings in the case.
A day after Singh made it clear in front of US President Barack Obama that expectations from his meeting with Sharif should be toned down,the PM re-emphasised in his address to the UN General Assembly that Pakistan was the epicentre of terrorism.
State-sponsored cross-border terrorism is of particular concern to India,also on account of the fact that the epicentre of terrorism in our region is located in our neighbourhood in Pakistan.
On Friday,Singh and Obama had a frank and detailed discussion on Pakistan. Insiders said that Obama,who is quite upset at the attack on the US consulate in Herat,Afghanistan,recently,told Singh that he had doubts whether the Pakistan Army had made a strategic reassessment of their role. Obama said that he planned to raise this with Sharif.
Singh brought up the attacks on Indian assets in Afghanistan,and the recent Samba terror attack to make a similar point,emphasising that dialogue had become difficult because of attacks day in and day out with signs of no diminution in Pakistans terror campaign.
The Prime Minister told Obama that the Lashkar-e-Toiba was now a global network,threatening many countries,not just India. He pointed out that the extensive financial network of the Jamaat ud Dawa which also receives financial assistance from the government of Pakistans Punjab province provides the LeT with funds.
As a result,the two leaders in their joint statement stressed the need for a joint and concerted effort,including dismantling of terrorist safe havens and disrupting all financial and tactical support for terrorism. The US president,however,also indicated that the countries must work towards strengthening the constituencies of peace in Pakistan.
At the UNGA,Singh recalled Sharifs address on Friday,where he had made a bid to re-engage with India,but added that while he does reciprocate his (Sharifs) sentiments and was looking forward to meeting him,the Pakistan PM needed to act on curbing terror emanating from his country before the relationship improves.
For progress to be made,it is imperative that the territory of Pakistan and the areas under its control are not utilized for aiding and abetting terrorism directed against India. It is equally important that the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down, Singh said.
In an apparent rebuttal to Sharifs invocation of the 1999 Lahore Declaration as a basis to move forward,as well as the standard Pakistani reference to the 1948 UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir,Singh threw in the 1972 Shimla Agreement into the discourse.
India is committed sincerely to resolving all issues with Pakistan,including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir,through bilateral dialogue on the basis of the Shimla Agreement… There must be a clear understanding of the fact Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that there can never,ever,be a compromise with the unity and territorial integrity of India.