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Pak has assured justice to 26/11 case, says Krishna

Last updated on: September 28, 2009 

Pak has assured justice to 26/11 case, says Krishna

Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Sunday said his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi assured him during a bilateral meeting that Islamabad will begin the trial of those recently arrested in connection with last year's Mumbai terror attack shortly, and that it would take steps to ensure that justice is done.

"What I gathered is that I think they have arrested seven or eight of the terrorists and very soon they would be brought to trial. I think that could be the beginning of the process of investigation," Krishna said following meeting with Qureshi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly Session in New York on Sunday.

Krishna said he told his Pakistani counterpart that India feels that it is clear that thanks to the magnitude of the crime that was committed on Mumbai, it would not have been possible by just seven or eight individuals without forces or backers behind them to do what they did.

"We think there are forces behind them and so I have flagged the Pakistani foreign minister that he should look into those groups which are backing these individuals," Krishna told mediapersons following the bilateral meeting at the New York Palace Hotel.

"Foreign Minister Qureshi conveyed to me the seriousness of his government in bringing to book through their legal process those responsible for the terrorist outrage in Mumbai ten months ago. Pakistan has taken some steps within its own legal system against those directly responsible," he said.

Evidently, the bilateral meeting, the first since the prime ministers of the two countries met at Sharm El-Sheikh two months ago, went off well. Just before the two ministers closeted for the meeting, officials said that is was expected to last about 45 minutes. But that meeting that started at 12 noon ended around 1: 45 pm, past 45 hours than scheduled.

In between a senior Indian diplomat came to assure the impatient horde of journalists, including some from the mainstream media who were speculating why it was taking so long for the meeting to end, to say that everything was going on well in the bilateral.

Both Krishna and Querishi later acknowledged that the meeting was a cordial one in which both sides got to listen and appreciate each other's points of view.

"We had a useful, constructive and candid exchange of views on the present situation in our bilateral relations. We both agreed that the future direction in our bilateral relations has to be one of deeper, sustained and meaningful relations. Being a neighbour, there is an imperative to have a mutually beneficial relationship with each other in the long-term interests of our own countries and to realize our national developmental priorities," Krishna said.

Text: Suman Guha Mozumder in New York

Video: Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna addresses the media after a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in New York on Sunday.

Videos by Paresh Gandhi

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'Talks with Krishna were frank, positive and honest'

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At a separate press conference at the Roosevelt Hotel a little while after Krishna's interaction with the press in which Pakistani journalists were also allowed to attend in a marked departure from the practice of past ten years, Qureshi said his talks with Krishna were 'frank, positive and honest.'

He said that talks and negotiations are the only way for peaceful resolution of outstanding between Pakistan and India.

The Pakistan foreign minister said that the formal trial of seven individuals who have been arrested will start in the third week of October. He said some 20 individuals have been proclaimed absconders. Pakistan, Qureshi said, wants to see this trial go to its logical conclusion.

While Qureshi said at his press conference that all the outstanding issues forming part of the composite dialogue process should be discussed by the two sides.

Krishna replied in the negative at his press conference when asked if Pakistan has asked for a firm date for resuming the composite dialogue on which India has imposed conditions, namely the creation of a conductive atmosphere where there would be no terrorist threat from Pakistani soil against India.

"I think the Pakistan foreign minister understood India's position (and) so he did not insist on it," Krishna said.

However, Krishna said that he has rejected the back-channel talks as proposed by Pakistan to move the dialogue forward.

"When front channel is open, what is the need for the back-channel?" Krishna asked.

"I think we have understood each other and our positions have been understood and appreciated," he added.

In response to a question from a journalist on India's refusal to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Krishna said although India is not a signatory to the NPT, the country as far as non-proliferation is concerned is exemplary.

"We have always approached the non-proliferation issues with the highest sense of probity. This is in contrast with the record of others," Krishna said without naming any country.

Reiterating India's position he said that non-proliferation cannot be an end in itself. "It has to be linked to effective nuclear disarmament. India remains committed to the goal of universal, non-discriminatory and complete elimination of nuclear weapons and in this context we welcome the renewed nuclear debate," he said.

In response to yet another question as to whether the draft Security Council resolution that calls for speedy ratification of NPT, is of any concern to India, Krishna said that New Delhi has a unique agreement with the United States in terms of Civilian Nuclear Cooperation as also with the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

"Our case is well known. We have international agreements on civil nuclear cooperation with the US and NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group). We have been also assured by the US that the SC resolution is not directed at India. The US has reiterated that it stands fully committed to the implementation of the Indo-US Civilian Nuclear deal," Krishna said.

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