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Indo-Pak foreign secy level talks on Nov 13
October 17, 2006 16:43 IST
Shiv Shankar Menon, who took over as foreign secretary on October 1 after serving as High Commissioner in Islamabad, will have discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammad Khan on November 13 and 14 and review the progress of the peace process covering key bilateral issues.
The dialogue had been interrupted as the meeting of the foreign secretaries, which was to be held in July, was put off following the terror attacks in Mumbai that vitiated the atmosphere. With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf having agreed at Havana in September to set up the joint anti-terror mechanism, the foreign secretaries are expected to discuss its modalities including how many representatives each side will have on it and at what level.
The hope in New Delhi is that this mechanism would be in place soon after these talks. Thereafter, India will submit "credible evidence" of Pakistani involvement in the July 11 blasts in Mumbai that left nearly 200 people dead.
India is likely to provide evidence, including phone records, showing involvement of ISI and Pakistani nationals in the blasts. It may seek handing over of those involved to the Indian investigating authorities.
Mumbai police on September 30 said the explosions were planned by Inter Services Intelligence and executed by activists of the banned Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Students Islamic Movement of India in New Delhi.
It said 11 Pakistani nationals were directly involved in the blasts on local trains and the conspirators came from Pakistan in groups crossing over from Nepal, Bangladesh and the porous border in Gujarat.
One of the Pakistanis, involved in the explosions, was killed in the explosion while police gunned another down later in Antop Hill, Mumbai Police Commissioner A N Roy said. The remaining either escaped to their country or hid in India, he had said.
Pakistan had said that Indian contention was "unsubstantiated" and "baseless". The prime minister last week said India will give "credible evidence" to Pakistan about involvement of ISI and LeT and test that country thereafter.
"Before we give them evidence, what is the use of talking about it?" he said referring to Pakistan's repeated denials.
"We have to give them evidence. We will give them credible evidence. We feel that there is involvement of elements in Pakistan," Singh said. "We will test them once we have given them evidence," he added.