TOP Indian and Pakistani foreign ministry officials met yesterday to bolster a fragile peace dialogue undermined by fresh tensions over the 2008 Mumbai attacks and political flux in Pakistan.
New Delhi suspended a four-year peace process with Islamabad after the attacks on India's financial capital by 10 Islamist gunmen that left 166 people dead.
The full peace dialogue only resumed in February last year.
A senior Indian government official said Wednesday's meeting between Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani had the sole aim of keeping the "dialogue process on track".
Both men are the top civil servants in their respective ministries.
The talks' atmosphere has been soured by India's recent arrest of Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari, suspected of being a key handler for the Mumbai attackers who were members of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.
India says Ansari has admitted helping to coordinate the deadly assault from a command post in Karachi, and his testimony has renewed Indian accusations that "state elements" in Pakistan were involved.
Returning Tuesday from a visit to Tajikistan, Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna said the information extracted from Ansari would have to be corroborated with other sources.
"That is when we will have to make a value judgement whether Pakistan can be trusted or not," Krishna told reporters.
He also said it was a "matter of great regret" that Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed — accused of masterminding the 2008 attacks — was still "moving freely in Pakistan".
The United States has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to Saeed's conviction. AFP
Thursday, July 5, 2012
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