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Krishna not too keen to meet Pak foreign minister

Last updated on: November 27, 2009 09:27 IST
Unhappy with the behaviour of Pakistan over terrorism, particularly the Mumbai attacks, India is not too keen to have a foreign ministerial meeting with Pakistan, even though both Union Foreign Minister S M Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi are in Port of Spain in to attend an international summit.

Sources said though India is not averse to talks with Pakistan at any level, but these serve no purpose on the ground given the attitude of Pakistan. "No meeting has been scheduled as of now, neither has any been formally sought by Pakistan," a source said when asked whether Krishna and Qureshi would have a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, a grouping of 53 former British colonies.

Qureshi, who is representing his country in place of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, has publicly stated that he would like to meet Krishna and discuss issues of mutual concern.

Asked whether there could still be a possibility of a pull-aside interaction as both the ministers would be at the same venue for three days, the sources said nothing could be ruled out.

They, however, promptly added that substantive meetings serve no purpose in terms of translating words into action by Pakistan. They were referring to the meeting Krishna had with Qureshi in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September, during which the Pakistani leader gave assurance of doing everything to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Krishna and Qureshi were again together in Kabul earlier this month during the swearing-in of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. During a lunch hosted by Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Krishna enquired from Qureshi about the progress in the Mumbai attacks case and impressed upon him the need to speed it up.

India feels that the punishment to the culprits, however, still seems to be distant dream, considering the slow pace of the legal process, that has been interrupted by technical hiccups, in Pakistan.

New Delhi is further disappointed by Islamabad's attitude in connection with the arrest of Laskhar-e-Tayiba operatives David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana, Pakistani-origin nationals, held by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Chicago last month for planning major attacks in India.

On the basis of inputs from FBI, Pakistan has arrested a number of people having links with Headley and Rana but India has heard nothing officially from Pakistan in this connection.

This attitude, the sources point out, is despite Pakistan's repeated assurances to cooperate in fighting terrorism directed against India. Krishna, in the meanwhile, has met his Sri Lankan counterpart Rohitha Bogollagama in Port of Spain and discussed the latest developments in Sri Lanka, particularly with regard to rehabilitation of displaced Tamils.

Ajay Kaul in Port of Spain
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