India and Pakistan want to take their strained relationship forward but peace has to first return to the LoC that divides Jammu and Kashmir, a top Indian official after Singh and Sharif talks.
India and Pakistan want to take their strained relationship forward but peace has to first return to the LoC that divides Jammu and Kashmir, a top Indian official said on Sunday after Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif met here for their much awaited talks.
“Both sides wish to see a better India-Pakistan relationship. Both sides want a much better relationship,” India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon told the media here, giving a summary of what the two prime ministers discussed for over an hour.
“In order to get there, we need to address today the issues we face,” he added, which he said included restoring “peace and tranquility” along the LoC and addressing issues related to terrorism.
“(It is very important to address the terrorism issue,” he underlined, making it clear that while there was no proof of India interfering in the internal affairs of Pakistan, the reverse was not true.
Manmohan Singh also told Sharif that it was vital to bring to book those in Pakistan who masterminded the 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people including many foreigners.
According to Menion, Sharif said that indeed was Pakistan’s intention.
The two prime ministers tasked the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of both countries to come up with “effective measures” to restore the 2003 ceasefire on the Jammu and Kashmir border.
“The decision was for DGMOs to come up with real plans to restore the ceasefire.”
Sharif raised issues of concern to Pakistan including the disputed Siachen glacier and Sir Creek, Menon said.
“Our overall impression was that the meeting was useful, it provided an opportunity to discuss issues that are troubling the relationship,” added Menon.
Sharif invited the Indian prime minister to visit Pakistan, and Manmohan Singh — who was born in what is now the Pakistani Punjab — reciprocated. No dates have been set for their visits.
Menon admitted that while the two leaders desire a better bilateral relationship, they were “also conscious of the difficulties standing in the way”.