Tough-talking Pakistan ‘rattled’ India26 February 2010
Islamabad: Pakistan “forced” India at the foreign secretary-level talks in New Delhi to reconsider its position on the merits of the composite dialogue and implicitly accept centrality of the Kashmir dispute to Indo-Pak ties. A senior diplomat – who was part of the official delegation that visited New Delhi for the talks on February 25 – said Pakistan had also handed over a “dossier” on the distribution of water and made it clear to India that it would not accept “Indian water hegemony”. “We did a lot of tough talking during the meeting, and convincingly put forward our position on all issues of importance ... [we] made it clear that we will not accept dictates on the terms of bilateral engagements,” said the diplomat. He said Pakistan also tabled a “roadmap” for the resumption of the peace process, persuading India to realise and publicly admit that the peace process had a lot of good things to offer. The diplomat said India was trying to wriggle out of the five-year composite dialogue by altering the mechanics of the terms of the peace process, but “Pakistan made it clear that it was unacceptable”. About the three dossiers handed over by India, the diplomat said the foreign secretary had already branded the documents “literature” which had nothing to do with evidence on the Mumbai attacks or terrorism. He said the foreign secretary also told his Indian counterpart that Islamabad would not be a party to “meaningless” dialogue or any other process “limited to photo sessions”. He said India had been told that all future engagements should be purposeful. Replying to a question, he accepted that the Indian delegation was “obsessed with terrorism” and tried to make the February 25 session “a one-point agenda meeting”. “We were well prepared, as we knew India would try to make it look like a meeting focused on terrorism, so we made well-timed interventions to make the interaction all encompassing,” he said. The diplomat rejected the impression that Pakistan had been trapped by India to highlight New Delhi’s concerns over terrorism, and said, “They will soon find themselves caught in their own trap ... their media is already highlighting it.” He said India lacked seriousness and failed to reciprocate Pakistan’s honesty in discussing all issues and finding mutually acceptable solutions.