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November 02, 2009

Indian PM: Pakistani Action Against Terrorism Required Before Peace Accord

by Steve Herman

India's prime minister has reiterated his desire for peace with Pakistan, but says a pre-requisite is "strong and effective" action by its long-time adversary against terrorism targeted at India.  

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has returned home following twin summits in the Russian Ural mountain city, Yekaterinburg. Although the Indian leader held several meetings with other heads of government, the most closely watched discussion was his 40-minute encounter with Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari.

Speaking to reporters aboard his airplane en route to New Delhi, Mr. Singh said the Pakistani leader told him Islamabad needs "some time" to overcome difficulties in tackling terrorism.

"We agreed that our foreign secretaries will discuss what Pakistan is doing and can do to prevent terrorism from Pakistan against India and to bring those responsible for these attacks to justice."

The two foreign secretaries are to meet ahead of a summit of non-aligned nations next month in Egypt.

Mr. Singh also told the journalists traveling with him Pakistan must "dismantle the infrastructure of terror" inside its borders.
 
The Indian prime minister characterizes the relationship with Pakistan as being "under considerable stress." It has been that way since the large-scale terrorist attack on India's commercial capital, Mumbai, last November.

The attack, in which more than 160 people died including foreign tourists, is blamed on Pakistani-based militants. Pakistani officials have acknowledged the assault was partly plotted in their country.

India and Pakistan have fought three full-scale wars since winning independence from Britain in 1947. The catalyst for two of the conflicts was the unresolved territorial dispute over the Kashmir region.

Formal peace talks between the nuclear-armed neighbors began five years ago, but have not been held since the attack on Mumbai.