Days after Pakistan said it would raise the alleged human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir in upcoming Indo-Pak talks, India on Tuesday made it clear that law and order cannot be questioned in the name of rights and that terrorism will be the focus of the parleys.
"Throughout the country human rights are protected, human rights are sacred to India and that has been ensured by the judiciary," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told mediapersons accompanying him on way home from a tour of Mauritius, Mozambique and Seychelles.
"If there are instances of human rights violations, there are agencies within our own country which have been created to ensure human rights protection. So, it can be looked into, but law and order cannot be questioned in the name of human rights," he said.
Krishna's remarks follow his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi's statement that he would raise the issue of alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir during their talks on July 15.
During his meeting with Qureshi, Krishna is expected to explore ways and means to reduce the trust deficit between the two countries that has grown since the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
"We would like to talk to Pakistan on a number of concerns that we have. Of course, the primary concern would continue to be terror which emanates from Pakistan," he said.
The minister said that he would continue to talk about terror and seek an update on the trial of those accused of carrying out the deadly attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
"So, I will continue to talk about terror, to talk about Mumbai, find out at what stage is the trial of the accused in the Mumbai attacks," he said.
Observing that the two countries have a "better understanding" of each other's perceptions now, Krishna said the April meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Thimphu had created an atmosphere wherein India can discuss any issue with Pakistan without any inhibitions.
He said the visit of Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to Pakistan and the subsequent discussions Home Minister P Chidambaram had with his counterpart Rehman Malik helped the two countries have a "better understanding" of each other's perceptions.
"After the home minister's visit and that of the foreign secretary, we have a better understanding of each other's perceptions," he said. Krishna said that Prime Minister Singh has "very rightly" put it that the trust deficit, that seems to have mounted over a period of time, needs to be bridged.
"I think the recent meeting at Thimphu between the two prime ministers has created somewhat of an atmosphere where we can discuss with Pakistan without any inhibitions," Krishna said.
Singh and Gilani had met on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit in Thimphu in April, where the two leaders had asked their Foreign Secretaries and Foreign Ministers to reduce the trust deficit between the two countries.
On reports that Pakistan was considering action against Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba after a wave of terror attacks in Lahore, Krishna said he had read "sketchy reports" to that effect and would wait for details before making any comments in this regard.
"Well, I have read some sketchy reports about some action against some organisations. We are awaiting greater details," he said.
Krishna said he will also discuss issues like trade, people-to-people contacts and student and teacher exchanges and anything else that can come up in his talks with Qureshi. On increasing trade through the Wagah border, he said the matter can be looked into depending on how the talks proceed.
"Well, that is one of the options that is available. Depending upon how the talks proceed, perhaps we will have to evolve strategies for that," Krishna said when asked about increasing trade via the Wagah border.
On the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, he said the security aspect and pricing of gas were the two key concerns that were coming in the way of a "quick decision".
"We cannot afford to have a project in which (the gas procured) cannot be sold to the consumer. This has to be kept in mind," Krishna said.
"All these will have to be studied very carefully before we take a view on it." The Iran-India Joint Commission meeting is scheduled to take place later this week and the IPI issue is expected to come up for discussion.
"I myself was in Iran and had very useful discussion and and the Joint Commission has been set up with the whole idea to resolve bilateral issues of these kind," he said.
On India's bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, the minister said if there is one country in the world which has impeccable credentials for a permanent membership of the Security Council it is unquestionably India.
There are a number of countries which have been wholeheartedly supporting India's claim to be a member of the Security Council, he said. "I am sure that the powers that be would have taken note of this growing momentum. Going back to the fundamentals, India believes the global need is to reflect the contemporary realties of the world."
"We cannot be governed by the Charter which was worked out in mid 1980s. We are in the 21st century. It is incumbent, wise, and necessary to make appropriate changes so that these organisations become more effective and more creditworthy," he said.