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India to Pakistan: Speedy 26/11 trial can be biggest CBM

Islamabad, July 15 (Calcutta Tube) Airing its concerns over cross-border terror, India Thursday told Pakistan that the speedy trial of the 26/11 accused and unraveling of the larger Mumbai attack conspiracy can be the ‘biggest confidence-building measure (CBM)’ that could help normalise strained ties between the two countries.

Describing his talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi as ‘good and constructive,’ External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said at a joint press conference that Pakistan has promised speedy trial of the 26/11 Mumbai attack accused and had given a fresh assurance not to allow this country’s territory to be used for terror against India.

‘The bottom-line is that the discussions were good and constructive,’ Krishna said after his wide-ranging talks with Qureshi that covered a wide array of issues of mutual concern, including terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and humanitarian CBMs to ease trust deficit between the two countries.

The two sides decided to continue engagement, with Krishna inviting Qureshi to visit India, saying he looked forward to welcoming him.

Krishna said that during the talks, he reminded his Pakistani interlocutors to fulfill the pledge that Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had given to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Bhutan over two months ago not to allow Pakistani territory to be used for terror activities directed against India.

‘It would go a long way in building trust,’ Krishna said.

‘They have assured us that steps have been taken to speed up the trial of the accused involved in the Mumbai attacks,’ Krishna said.

‘Perhaps that could be the biggest confidence-building measure,’ Krishna said while alluding to Pakistan’s assurance about the speedy trial of the Mumbai accused.

Krishna stressed that he is going back to India with the hope that the leads provided by New Delhi based on disclosures of American-Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Headley will be investigated by Pakistan to unravel the larger conspiracy behind the Mumbai attack.

Qureshi, on his part, pitched for ‘a meaningful, result-oriented dialogue,’ and urged India to recognise terrorism as a common challenge that required a common approach.

‘The best way to deal with this (terrorism) is to recognise it as a common enemy and adopt a common approach,’ Qureshi said.

Qureshi said all issues were discussed with Krishna, including terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, confidence-building measures and disputes over Siachen and Sir Creek.

‘We had an extended meeting, looking at various options that will build and restore trust,’ Qureshi said.

He said: ‘We had frank, candid and honest discussions on where we stand, how we look at our bilateral ties and how to move forward.’

He also apologised for the delay in holding the press conference.

‘Let me apologise for the delay. Our talks took much longer than anticipated. After all, we were meeting after a long time and there was much to discuss,’ Qureshi said.

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