NEW DELHI: Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has called on Pakistan’s political leadership to assert itself against undemocratic forces in the country for it to move forward against terrorism and in relations with India.
Speaking to Pakistani journalists visiting India, Ms Rao said that while the Indian government was mindful of the compulsions of the Zardari government in its moves to try the alleged masterminds behind the Mumbai attacks, the Indian government was expecting some results soon.
“Who knows the situation better than us. We are your neighbours. But the government has to move against forces of extremism and terrorism.”
Speaking on growing expectations that the Saarc meeting in Thimpu will yield some good news for India and Pakistan, Ms Rao said “one has to be sober about expectations.”
She said that the Indian government was serious about dialogue with Pakistan but it wanted some action in order to move ahead. Thimpu, she clarified, “is not a photo opportunity for us.” Rao said that while there was a great emphasis on people-to-people contact between India and Pakistan, there were genuine concerns over security, which needed to be addressed.
Rao said that her government believed in a stable Pakistan but if the country did not address the issue of terrorism, its survival could be at stake.
The general consensus amongst officials and analysts in India continues to be that for relations to normalise, the Pakistan government must work towards bringing those involved in the Mumbai attacks to justice. However, the message given by the Pakistani side remained that the Indians were over-simplifying the situation in Pakistan and not fully appreciating the compulsions of the Pakistani government.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2011.
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