Ceasefire first, talks later:PM
Manmohan- Sharif Meeting : Ceasefire First, Talks Later : PM Manmohan. At the much anticipated meeting between Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif...
- Menon describes meeting as productive and constructive
- Both sides discuss terrorism, Kashmir and trade & commerce
- Sharif promises to look into 26/11
- He harks back to self-determination in Kashmir under UN
- PM moots Simla like agreement to solve Kashmir issue
- Both leaders invite each other to visit their countries
Manmohan Singh said during the meeting that one can choose their friends, but not their neighbours
New York (Agencies): At the much anticipated meeting between Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh at the United Nations, Sharif promised Manmohan Singh that he would look into the events of 26/11, and pursue the line of investigation quickly. Indian National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon also said after the meeting that restoring the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) was a precondition to further peace talks. The two reportedly discussed, in a time period of a little over an hour, terrorism issues, Kashmir, as well as trade and commerce.
“Manmohan Singh said during the meeting that one can choose their friends, but not their neighbours,” said Menon. “So Pakistan is our neighbour, and we will continue working towards a solution of our issues.”
Manmohan Singh told Sharif to improve the situation along the Line of Control (LoC). Sharif also invited Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan, who also invited him to India. The invitations were accepted, though the dates are yet to be determined. “India and Pakistan agreed that the precondition for talks is improving the condition on the LoC,” said Menon.
“They have tasked the DGMOs with coming up with a clear plan to enforce the ceasefire, as well as how it should be kept in place. The Indian prime minister also discussed 26/11, and how to bring the perpetrators to justice. Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif said that was indeed his intention, and there would be more progress soon.”
According to Menon, Sharif said that the judicial commission had come back with evidence, and the process would be fast tracked. More movement on the 26/11 case can be expected, according to Sharif, since now the depositions had been gathered. India took the line that trade, economic and other areas would be cooperated on, but would be contingent on peace along the LoC, as well as on Pakistan combating cross-border terrorism.
Menon described the meeting as “productive and constructive.” “Overall, it was useful because it provided a high-level interaction between the two governments and gave us a way forward.” Little concrete came out of the talks, but rarely has the need been greater the need for improved ties given the escalation of violence along the Kashmir border.
The meeting comes with the backdrop of India’s growing concern of increasing terror attacks in India. During the meeting, Manmohan Singh raised the issue of ceasefire violations and the terror issue with Sharif during the meeting. They also discussed trade and commerce, according to reports on NDTV. Sharif brought up the terrorism that Pakistan is bearing the brunt of, and promised action on 26/11, according to Menon, the Indian national security advisor (NSA), who held a press conference after the meeting.
There was no discussion on a next meeting, said Menon, and he said that “how useful the talks were remains to be seen.” “We have two sovereign states dealing with each other,” said Menon. “We are neighbours, and as the prime minister said, you can choose your friends, not your neighbours, so we will deal with the situation…there is no question of India interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs,” said Menon regarding the Balochistan issue. Sharif’s invitation was reported by NDTV. The news channel has also reported that they “discussed ways to normalise bilateral ties.”
Manmohan Singh also reportedly raised the issue of terrorism on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and asked Islamabad to make more moves to curb cross-border terrorism. “There is actually no proof of export of terrorism from Indian soil, wish could say the same for the other way round,” said Menon during the press conference.
Even before the talk between Sharif and Manmohan began, both sides had clearly laid out their positions. Sharif stuck to his previous stand, and did not come up with anything outside the box, harking back to self-determination in Kashmir with the aid of the United Nations.