PM talks tough with Aziz in Dhaka

New Delhi, Nov 13 | Updated: Nov 14 2005, 05:41am hrs
With the recent New Delhi blasts still fresh in public memory, India has perceptibly hardened its stand vis-a-vis Pakistan and brought the issue of cross-border terrorism back on the negotiating table.

Indias tough stand was evident during Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs meeting on Saturday with his Pakistani counterpart Shaukat Aziz in Dhaka. Dr Singh made it clear that to allow the peace process to move forward and reduce trust deficit, it was important that we are not deflected by the incidents of terrorism and infiltration attempts that continue.

In a strong message, New Delhi also ruled out demilitarisation until Pakistan stopped cross-border terrorism and the influx of terrorists. Over the last few days, in various fora, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has hinted adequately that terrorism sponsored from across the borders would have to halt. He articulated the subtle shift in the Indian stand in speeches he made at the PN Haksar memorial lecture as well as at the IDSA in New Delhi.

Significantly, the Delhi police on Sunday cracked the Oct 29 blasts with the arrest of a key Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative in Srinagar. The involvement of Let has pointed to continued indulgence of Pakistani sponsors in the pre-Diwali serial blasts that killed over 60 people. Importantly, foreign secretary Shyam Saran had noted on Saturday that such incidents of terrorism had an impact on the public and the government.

The Pakistanis on Sunday, however, tactically resorted to the strategy of not engaging in any game of oneupmanship. Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, according to agency reports, said on Sunday that the talks with India were making progress, though core issues such as Kashmir still remained.