New York, Sep 30: Opening doors, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif held “useful and friendly” talks here Sunday, but India made clear that restoration of peace along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir was a necessary pre-requisite for a composite dialogue.
In ice-breaking talks lasting a little over an hour on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, the two leaders agreed that reducing violence and tension along the LoC in Kashmir will be a priority for both countries.
Both prime ministers also accepted invitations to visit each other’s countries but no date has been set as yet, Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon told reporters after the talks.
Senior military officers – the Directors General of Military Operations or DGMOs – will be asked to “find effective means to restore the ceasefire” that was declared in 2003, were held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
“Both agreed that the precondition for forward movement in the relationship, which they both desire, is really an improvement of the situation on the LoC,” he said.
The talks come after militants raided an Indian army base in Samba, 26 km from Jammu, Thursday, killing 12 people.
Menon said the talks were friendly, but added: “As for how useful and productive the meeting was, I think the only proof will be in the months to come.”
He said that the Pakistani prime minister also promised “there would be action” on punishing those responsible for 26/11 attack in Mumbai, which killed 166 people.
According to Menon, Sharif said that the judicial commission has come back with evidence, and the process will 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.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, National Security Advisor Menon and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh were also present at the meeting.
From Pakistani side, Sharif’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was among those who attended the meeting.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)