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No dialogue till credible action by Pak: Menon
New Delhi, Mar 30 (agencies):
Published on 30 Mar. 2009 11:50 PM IST
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India on Monday made it clear that composite dialogue with Pakistan cannot resume till New Delhi sees credible action by Islamabad to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice and dismantle the terror infrastructure. Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon also disfavoured any mediation by the US or any other country between India and Pakistan, saying the best results can be achieved if the two South Asian countries do it bilaterally. He maintained that India and Pakistan had made progress in their relationship before the Mumbai attacks as they dealt with issues bilaterally. “It is hard for any external source to replace” the bilateral process, he told reporters here when asked to comment on US President Barack Obama’s intention to engage in “constructive diplomacy” between India and Pakistan. “We need two hands to clap. Third hand will not be helpful,” Menon said. Asked about Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s emphasis on the need for early resumption of composite dialogue, the Foreign Secretary said, “Our present position is we are looking at bringing perpetrators of Mumbai attacks to justice and credible action by Pakistan to dismantle terror infrastructure from where Mumbai attacks and earlier attacks in India were carried out. We are waiting.” To a question, Menon underlined that action by Pakistan has to be “credible in our view”. “Unless it is credible, it is not worth it. We want to see action,” he said. At the same time, he said, “We are not setting down markers or timelines” and that India wanted to see its expectation being met. Welcoming the intent of the new Afghan-Pakistan policy unveiled by Obama last week, he said that for India “links” between Pakistani establishment and terror elements is a “cause of concern” and “we will welcome whatever anybody can do to cut those links”. Menon said that the problem as well as its diagnosis was well known but different countries might have different approaches. US special envoy Richard Holbrooke will be visiting India and discussions will be held with him on this issue. Menon said India was shocked and saddened at the attack on the police academy in Lahore but refused to hazard a guess at this stage about who is responsible for it. Menon said it would be “hard” for any “external” hand to replace the bilateral process between India and Pakistan. “You need two hands to clap. A third hand will not be helpful,” he said. Asked whether India expected US pressure on Kashmir, the Foreign Secretary shot back: “Why?” To a question about the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the US approach to it, he said the “problem” and “diagnosis” are very clear although different countries might have different approaches. He noted that US’ Special Envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke would be coming here early next month and New Delhi’s point of view would be conveyed to him. “India is ready to play a constructive role (on Afghanistan issue).We are ready to work with the US,” Menon said, adding New Delhi was not unduly worried about “other people’s sensitivities” on the issue. “I am not an astrologer (to predict how Pakistan would take India’s role in Afghanistan). We will do what is in our national interest,” he said. To a question, Menon said Chahbahar port in Iran was ready to be used by anyone for access to Afghanistan and this issue was discussed with Tehran last week. In this context, he referred to the Delaram-Zaranj highway constructed by India as part of link between Kabul and Iran with monetary and “human investments”.

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