India is likely to put before Pakistan a set of specific demands related to tackling terrorism when their foreign secretaries meet next week, and Delhi's political circles believe that its response will determine the future course of such talks.
Expectations from the talks between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir, to be held in New Delhi on February 25, are 'realistic', informed sources said. New Delhi will seek voice samples of seven Lashkar-e- Tayiba operatives accused in the Mumbai terror attacks to match them with telephonic intercepts recorded by Indian security agencies during the attack by ten Pakistani terrorists on November 26, 2008.
Voice samples of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Abu Al Qama, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Younus Anjum and Jamil Ahmed, all of them chargesheeted in a Pakistani court, will be sought by the Indian side during the parleys. Terror emanating from Pakistani soil will be India's focus at the talks, with the sources emphasising that the blast in Pune had only sharpened that focus.
Ahead of the talks, India has conveyed to Islamabad that its Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's rhetoric will not create a conducive atmosphere for the discussions. Qureshi had said it was not Pakistan which had knelt before India for the sake of talks that were being held at India's request.
While no breakthrough or solutions to complicated issues are expected from the talks, sources said the future course of the dialogue will depend on what Pakistan does to address India's concerns. It had been 'saying much but doing little', they said.
Whether there would be more rounds of discussions at the foreign secretary-level or whether these would be elevated to a political level hinges on Pakistan's response. The starting point for India's set of demands would be the Mumbai terror attacks and its links to elements in Pakistan, the sources said, adding New Delhi would see whether cases filed against some Pakistani nationals in this regard would be carried forward.
India is clear that the talks are not a resumption of the composite dialogue, which Pakistan wants, but there is a willingness to discuss what the Pakistani delegation would bring to the table. Islamabad has been emphasising that it would raise Kashmir, Balochistan and the water dispute.
The sources emphasised that talking to Pakistan was only a part of a 'bigger strategy' in dealing with that country, where there had been a steady weakening of the civilian government and strengthening of the army during the past year.