New Delhi, June 18 (Calcutta Tube) India Friday handed over its formal response to issues raised in the six dossiers relating to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks given by Pakistan nearly two months ago as Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao gears up for talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Islamabad June 24.
Y.K. Sinha, joint secretary in charge of Pakistan in the external affairs ministry, handed over ‘a set of responses’ to six dossiers given by Pakistan April 25 to Deputy High Commissioner Riffat Masood, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters here.
‘It contains some documents relating to Mumbai,’ Masood told IANS.
Pakistan had handed over six dossiers to India regarding developments in the Mumbai attack probe and sought the extradition of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving gunman, and Fahim Ansari, an Indian accused of conducting recce of places targeted by terrorists.
A Mumbai court has sentenced Kasab to death and acquitted Ansari.
India had handed three dossiers linking Pakistani nationals, including Hafiz Saeed, the suspected mastermind of the Mumbai carnage, during the Feb 25 foreign secretary-level talks in New Delhi. Prior to this, India had given seven dosiers to Pakistan.
The progress in the trial in Pakistan of seven Laskhar-e-Taiba operatives charged with planning the 26/11 attack will figure prominently in discussions between Rao and her Bashir in Islamabad June 24.
Rao and Bashir are expected to discuss an entire gamut of bilateral issues, including terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, confidence building measures and the sharing of river waters.
In Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said Pakistan was keen to firm up Confidence Building Measures at the upcoming foreign secretary level talks to bridge the trust defecit with India. ‘We hope that this engagement should be a sustained and purposeful engagement (and it) should address all these issues so that we bridge this trust deficit,’ he said.
The meeting is expected to flesh out the agenda for the talks between foreign ministers of the two countries in Islamabad July 15.
Rao will also call on Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the external affairs ministry said here Friday while announcing the foreign secretary-level talks.
The meeting between Rao and Bashir flows from an understanding between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani in Thimphu April 29.
In an attempt to revive the dialogue that was frozen after the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai terror attack, the two leaders had directed their foreign secretaries and foreign ministers to meet and work out the modalities of reducing the trust deficit between the two countries.
Rao’s trip will be followed by a visit by Home Secretary G.K. Pillai to Islamabad to attend the SAARC Home Secretaries meeting, that will firm up the agenda for a meeting of home ministers of the 8-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in the Pakistani capital June 26.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram will represent India at the regional meet and will also hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik that are expected to be dominated by India’s concerns over terrorism.
Outlining India’s approach ahead of the talks, Rao said at a seminar recently that India was ready to address all issues of mutual concern through dialogue and peaceful negotiations for bridging the trust deficit between the two countries.
Rao asked Pakistan to stop using terrorist groups ‘selectively as strategic assets’ and stressed that both countries should seek ‘creative solution’ to complex issues like Jammu and Kashmir that have shadowed their relations.