M A I N   N E W S

Talks with Pak to be carried forward
But checking terrorism pre-requisite, says PM
Tribune News Service and Agencies

New Delhi, September 27
India will carry forward the ongoing composite dialogue process with Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told mediapersons tonight on his arrival here after a nine-day visit to the United Kingdom and the United Nations.

The Prime Minister recalled his meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on September 24 and said the two countries had decided to remain engaged in the dialogue process, which he said augured well for bilateral relations.

“I met President Musharraf and I am glad to report that talks with him were very good,” Mr Singh said on arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here, which was 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

“We agreed to carry forward the composite dialogue process. It augurs well for India-Pakistan relations,” he said.

Dr Singh said: “I unambiguously told him that the starting point of the whole dialogue process is his January 6 commitment that territory under Pakistan’s control will not be used for terrorist activities.”

“...It should leave no doubt in your minds that controlling terrorism is a pre-condition for a forward movement in the dialogue process. We cannot discuss confidence building measures (CBMs) and substantive issues if terrorism continues.”

Describing his first major diplomatic foray as “a voyage of discovery”, Mr Singh said it had provided him an opportunity to garner support for a permanent seat for India in the expanded UN Security Council.

The Prime Minister said he had met some important world leaders and explained to them the policies of his new government.

The leaders he met included US President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and South African President Thabo Mbeki, Mr Singh said.

This was Mr Singh’s first major diplomatic foray outside Asia after assuming office and was described by top MEA officials as “very productive”.

Mr Singh, who did not take any questions from mediapersons, was received at the airport by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, HRD Minister Arjun Singh and some other Cabinet colleagues and top civil and military officials.

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