UN Assembly: Nawaz, Manmohan to shake hands on 29th

Indian PM says he looks forward to meeting premiers of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Aditi Phadnis September 26, 2013
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. PHOTO FILE

ISLAMABAD:


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh put an end to weeks of speculations, saying that he looked forward to holding bilateral meetings with the premiers of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Ties between both the neighbouring countries have severely strained after the recent border ceasefire violations and lack of progress on the Mumbai attack case.

The Indian prime minister while leaving for the UN General Assembly on Wednesday said that he “looked forward to holding bilateral meetings with the prime ministers”.

Prime ministers of India and Pakistan are likely to meet on September 29. Sources revealed that Manmohan has accepted the Pakistani premier’s invitation and the breakfast meeting is likely to be held in Nawaz’s hotel room.



Earlier this week, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh seemed sceptical of the meeting. “The harsh reality on the ground is that we continue to face acts of terrorism by groups operating from Pakistan and territories under Pakistan’s control,” she said, adding that there were certain elements that were engaged in hostile propaganda against India and were operating from Pakistan.

“Despite repeated commitments from the highest level in Pakistan and very positive statements, there has been very little progress in efforts to punish those responsible for the Mumbai attacks. These are the harsh realities. So let us see what happens,” Singh stated.

Taking a contrasting stance the former Foreign Secretary and former advisor to the PM, Shyam Saran had advised the Indian premier to end the ‘talk-freeze’ between the two countries arguing that such a policy would lead the states nowhere.

The announcement comes at a time when a judicial commission is in India to cross-examine witnesses who handled the bodies of those killed in the Mumbai attack.

Meanwhile, an irked former Finance and Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party questioned the wisdom of holding a bilateral meeting with a Pakistan premier at this point in time.

He added that the situation was hardly conducive for a summit level talk. “Terror and talks should not go together. This is the arrangement and the understanding that has been established between India and Pakistan, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister,” Sinha said.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2013.

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COMMENTS (1)

Burjor Rustomji | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend

"Despite repeated commitments...so let us see what happens". Absoloutely nothing tangible is going to happen. Manmohan should know better. Why did he and his family leave Pakistan?? does he not remember how long it took Pakistan to admit that the people who commited this crime came from Pakistan. Does he not remember that the first official person to admit that the perpetrators were from Pakistan was given the sack. Only when the news media people reached the town of the surviving perpetrator, and interviewed his family did they finally admit. India has to stay very firm, not for India alone, but also for the region as a whole. Pakistan has become a very very dangerous country, strong countries like India have to stay very firm. India has a responsibilty not only for the innocent victims in Mumbai but for all minorities. As Pakistan descends into extremism, terrorism, anarchy, India has a greater responsibility than bringing to book the perpetrators of this atrocity. Indian government, Indian people, Indian civil society, have a duty, do not ever forget.

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