New Delhi, February 17: The upcoming foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan would only focus on terror and are not a resumption of the composite dialogue, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here Wednesday.
“Let the nation not be under mistaken inference that composite dialogue is being renewed. Composite dialogue was suspended with very good reason from the Indian point of view. The issue that we raised remained to be addressed by Pakistan with a degree of seriousness,” Krishna told CNN-IBN television news channel.
The minister said he did not know what issues Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir would raise but “the brief for our secretary (Nirupama Rao) is that terror is the centre and focus point of talks”.
India had suspended the composite dialogue process after the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai and meet for the first time since in New Delhi on Feb 25. Soon after the date was decided, a bomb blast ripped through a popular bakery in Pune Saturday, killing 11 people.
Krishna asserted that the foreign secretary-level talks would only take place “in order to carry forward the core issue as far as India is concerned about terror and terror driven activities emanating from Pakistan”.
“We thought that it is necessary to engage Pakistan in this very critical area of terror,” he added.
He described the meeting as a stock-taking exercise to assess what Pakistan has done after the seven dossiers provided by India.
“In the present talks after 14 months, we provided them (Pakistan) with documents to carry out further investigations in Pakistan as the crime (Mumbai terror attack) was committed, hatched, carried out by Pakistanis. We thought it is necessary that after 14 months (to find out) what they have done to address our concerns, and that is the reason we have decided to go ahead with the talks,” the minister said.
On the criticism for talking with Pakistan, Krishna said: “If there is a better suggestion in terms of alternative, the government is willing to consider those alternatives. If the opposition in their wisdom emanating from being out of government can suggest – the government is not unwilling to look at them.”
Krishna felt that the Pakistan government was not capable of controlling Jehadi leaders who continue to pour venom against India.
“It’s the way Pakistan functions. The government perhaps is not capable of restraining these Jehadis from continuing with their vituperative statements against India, showing their hostility openly against India. We have seen that in the last 60 years. But we are not going to be influenced by that,” he said.
The minister said these extremists were only a “fringe minority group” in Pakistan. “We proceed on that assumption that a large majority of people in Pakistan want peace, cordiality and friendship with India. It will only to that constituency India will proceed on talks,” he said.