YEKATERINBURG, Russia– Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, holding his first meeting with Pakistan's leader since last year's attacks on Mumbai, asked him to ensure militants could not operate from Pakistani territory.
I am happy to meet you, but my mandate is to tell you that the territory of Pakistan must not be used for terrorism, Singh told President Asif Ali Zardari at a meeting on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Summit (SCO) in Russia.
His tough words suggested there would be no major breakthrough in relations between India and Pakistan. Washington is keen to see a thaw between the two countries to ease tensions across the region, including in Afghanistan.
India broke off talks with Pakistan after 10 gunmen launched multiple attacks on Mumbai last November, killing 166 people. It blamed the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.
Pakistan wants to resume a 5-year-old peace process, while India has said it wants Islamabad to take further action against the Lashkar-e-Taiba first before a formal dialogue between the two nuclear-armed rivals can be resumed.
But Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi nonetheless said that the two countries would hold further talks to exchange information on terrorism.
The two sides agreed that our foreign secretaries will meet soon and they will update each other and exchange views on the issue of terrorism, he said.
He added that the political leadership will meet in Sharm El Sheikh, referring to a Non-Aligned Movement summit meeting in the Egyptian resort in mid-July. He did not specify whether Zardari and Singh would attend the summit.
REGIONAL, GLOBAL COOPERATION
Ahead of his meeting with Zardari, Singh urged regional cooperation against terrorism and other security threats.
The specter of terrorism, extremist ideologies and illicit drug trafficking haunts our region. Terrorist crimes committed today are transnational in nature, Singh said in the text of a speech prepared for the summit.
It is imperative that we genuinely cooperate with one another and on a global scale to resolutely defeat international terrorism.
India was incensed when a Pakistani court this month ordered the release from house arrest of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Islamabad says it has detained some militants, but needs more evidence from New Delhi for further action.
The United States is keen to see the two countries improve relations so that Pakistan can concentrate on fighting Taliban militants on its western border with Afghanistan.
Indian analysts had said ahead of the meeting in Russia that they did not expect Singh to agree to reopen formal peace talks until Pakistan took further action against the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
But they said India was nonetheless likely to be willing to talk to Pakistan, provided this was focused on exchanging information on curbing terrorism.
The two countries have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two over Kashmir. They both have observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which groups Russia, China and the former Soviet Central Asian republics.
(Additional reporting by Kamran Haider in Islamabad; Writing by Myra MacDonald; Editing by Louise Ireland)