The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pranab raises terror pitch

New Delhi, Nov. 11: Days ahead of the India-Pakistan foreign secretary-level talks, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee today told foreign diplomats to focus on addressing transnational terrorism.

Mukherjee (in picture below) was addressing 25 young diplomats from various countries who are here to attend a professional course.

Pakistan would have to keep its word on terrorism, the minister said, when asked later about his expectations from the talks between foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammad Khan beginning on Tuesday. “I would like they should stick to the assurances they have given.”

The minister also made it clear that any evidence linking Pakistan with the recent terror attacks in India would be dealt with through the proposed joint mechanism on terrorism to be formalised during the two-day talks.

In his address to the diplomats, Mukherjee focused on the need to tackle terrorism. “An environment of security, predictability and peace is essential to prosper, (for) business to flourish and development to take place,” he said, calling for a joint fight against transnational terrorism.

Terrorism will also be the key issue for India at the two-day foreign secretary-level talks. Government sources indicated that the success of the meet would have an impact on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s proposed visit to Pakistan.

Officials here said no dates have been fixed yet, but for the trip to be meaningful, some progress should be made on terrorism at the talks. While terror will be the main agenda, Pakistan has drawn up a plan to focus on Kashmir, they added.

The Pakistan foreign secretary will arrive on Monday with a six-member delegation.

Menon held a meeting today with senior intelligence officials on the proposed joint mechanism on terrorism.

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