Indian premier hopeful of Pakistan action

NEW DELHI: Indian premier Manmohan Singh has voiced hope that Pakistan will promise action against those behind the Mumbai terror attacks when he meets his counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani, a report said today.

The discussions, on the margins of the global NAM summit in the Egyptian

Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, will be the second high-level contact between

the two sides since the Mumbai raids that killed 166 people in November.

“I do hope that after our meeting we will have a reaffirmation on the part of Pakistan that they will bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre to justice,” Singh told reporters on his way back from the G8 nations’ meeting in Italy, the Press Trust of India reported.

PM Singh said he also hoped Islamabad would implement a five-year-old pledge not to “allow use of their (Pakistani) land to

terrorist elements working against India. If they do

that we are willing to walk

more than half the

distance to normalise the relations.”

The Singh-Gilani meeting is to be preceded by talks between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan.

Ties between the two nuclear-armed rivals plummeted in the wake of deadly attacks in India’s financial capital that New Delhi blamed on the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) rebel group, linked to Pakistan’s powerful spy service.

The raids also left a fragile peace process, launched in 2004, in tatters.

But Singh’s re-election in May and a meeting between the Indian premier and Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg last month have renewed hopes of a thawing in relations.

New Delhi is insistent that it will resume talks to normalise ties only after Islamabad brings to justice the alleged perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Under intense international pressure, Islamabad cracked down on some groups and placed more than 120 people under house arrest before admitting in February that part of the Mumbai plot was hatched in Pakistan.