Chill is real, India-Pakistan
composite dialogue "on hold"
By Manish Chand
Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS) With Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari
saying no to returning fugitives from Indian law and little
sign of cooperation coming from Islamabad in the wake of Mumbai's
terror attacks, India has decided to put its bilateral dialogue
"on hold" till its concerns are addressed.
talks are on hold till the atmosphere is conducive for such
an engagement. It's not possible to carry on the dialogue
in this atmosphere," highly-placed sources told IANS,
indicating New Delhi's exasperation with the lack of an adequate
response from Islamabad to its demarche.
the atmosphere it not right, how can we carry on the dialogue.
The atmosphere has been vitiated," sources added.
decision to suspend what is called the composite dialogue
process has come after more damning evidence emerged, linking
not just Pakistan-based elements but its Inter Services Intelligence
(ISI), to the Mumbai blasts. New Delhi is convinced "without
a shadow of doubt" about Pakistan's spy agency ISI's
involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks and is readying to
present to Islamabad "a list of ISI handlers" who
allegedly masterminded the terror strikes, reliable sources
first casualty of the chill in India-Pakistan ties in the
aftermath of Mumbai carnage has been trade talks - an area
in which the new civilian government in Islamabad has shown
great enthusiasm, echoing India's long-standing position on
improving relations through trade ties.
has called off a trip by a Planning Commission team which
was going to Islamabad to lay the groundwork and finalise
the dates for a visit by Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
Ahluwalia was to return a visit by his Pakistani counterpart
Salman Faruqui who came here earlier this month and explored
the possibility of cooperation in building Metro and in renewable
and Pakistan launched the fifth round of composite dialogue
in July in the shadow of the bombings outside the Indian mission
in Kabul. New Delhi blamed the ISI for the blasts, which put
the dialogue process under strain.
less than two weeks it's a dramatic U-turn in India-Pakistan
relations. On the fateful night of Nov 26, less than an hour
before the Mumbai mayhem started, External Affairs Minister
Pranab Mukherjee and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood
Qureshi were talking confidently about boosting trade, people-to-people
contacts and combating terrorism. India was also seriously
considering sending Indian cricket team to Pakistan after
a stringent security review.
three days later, India was accusing Pakistan-based elements
of fomenting terror attacks in Mumbai and speculation was
rife about troops build-up on the border.
the demarche served Dec 1, India made it clear that the perpetrators
of Mumbai terror attacks came from Pakistan and asked Islamabad
to take "strong action" against those elements New
Delhi suspects to be behind the blasts. India also asked Pakistan
to hand over most wanted fugitives from Indian law and to
proscribe militant outfits. The most wanted list includes
Laskhar-e-Taiba leader Mohammad Hafeez Saeed, ex-Mumbai crimeboss
Dawood Ibrahim and Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit's chief Masood
response, Zardari offered a joint investigation team, which
has been cold-shouldered by India. Subsequently, Zardari rejected
the demand for handing over of fugitives asking India to produce
evidence so that they can be prosecuted in Pakistani courts.
India claims it has provided strong evidence in the past -
the list of India's 20 most wanted dates back to 2002 in the
aftermath of the Dec 13, 2001 attack on Indian parliament
and will decide on its next step after a formal response from
Pakistan on this issue.
is also a growing perception among the US security and intelligence
establishment about the involvement of the ISI and LeT in
the Mumbai attacks.
these disclosures as a backdrop, US Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice has sent a tough, no-nonsense message to Pakistan, asking
it to cooperate "urgently and transparently" with
India in tracking the perpetrators of the Mumbai mayhem that
killed 172 people, including six Americans.