Indo-Pak dialogue may be affected

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 29 2008, 04:02am hrs
Even as both India and Pakistan vowed on Wednesday to fight terrorism together, the terror attacks in Mumbai will impose fresh strains on the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Infact, officials from both countries are due to meet in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, next week to discuss the extradition of suspects linked to earlier bomb attacks in Mumbai.

Expressing shock and horror at the terror attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan called for strengthening the joint anti-terror mechanism with India and offered to set up a hotline between intelligence chiefs of the two countries.

Pakistan, however, warned against making insinuations against each other in case of terror attacks and underlined the need for a cautious approach towards tackling the common scourge.

Pakistans foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, arrived in the Indian capital, Delhi, yesterday for a four-day visit here, said in a statement that he was shocked and horrified by the barbaric attacks in Mumbai. He said Pakistan had suffered similar atrocities, including a suicide truck bomb which devastated one of Islamabads top hotels in September.

Pakistan wants friendly relations with India and we today have a common enemy which is extremism and terrorism. It is not local or regional phenomena. Terrorism is a global challenge and we have to poll in our resources. We have to jointly fight these, Qureshi said.

Alluding to the deadly terror strike at Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September, Qureshi said: We, in Pakistan, are dealing with terrorism on daily basis. People of India know that we suffered similar attack in Islamabad at the Marriott Hotel recently.

Calling terrorism a global phenomena, he exhorted all civilized societies will have to join hands and pool in their resources to deal with this menace.

In the immediate aftermath of last nights attacks, the Pakistan president, Asif Ali Zardari, and his prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, issued statements deploring the carnage in Mumbai.

The president, one communiqu said, stressed the need for taking strict measures to eradicate terrorism and extremism from the region.

A day before in Islamabad, the interior secretaries of Pakistan and India agreed to boost cooperation between their civilian investigation agencies to control terrorist activities and illegal immigration.

Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called up external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and underlined her countrys solidarity in the common fight against terrorism in the wake of terror strikes targeting Mumbai.

Rice expressed full support of the US government to India in this common fight against terrorism, said official sources.

The US was among the first few countries to condemn horrific attacks in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai and said it was ready to support the Indian authorities in dealing with the situation.

We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Mumbai, India. Our sympathies go out to the families and friends of those killed and injured, and to the people of Mumbai, the state department said in statement on Wednesday.