Indian president lauds Nawaz initiative for peace

ISTANBUL: Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has said his country appreciates the positive gestures towards India by new Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but he needed to live up to his promises on controlling terrorism if there was to be progress on normalisation of ties between the countries.

In an interview to Turkish newspaper Today s Zaman, the president, who began a visit to Turkey Saturday, said: “We appreciate the gestures of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan s prime minister, shown towards India immediately after assuming office. And there is commonality in our approach.”

But he said for any progress to be made on expansion in trade, investment and other areas, “conducive atmosphere must be there.”

And this means that “the infrastructure created by the terrorist outfits in your territories, dismantle them!” Mukherjee said bluntly.

“Keep your commitments to India, don t allow terrorists to use your land to perpetrate their nefarious activities in India.”

Unless that is done, how could you talk about other developments, the president asked, implying that there can be no progress on peace talks unless Pakistan kept its promises to “assure that their territory is not being used to carry on terrorist activities against India.

“Therefore we do hope that what Nawaz Sharif stated, he will try to implement that,” the president said in detailed responses on India-Pakistan ties and their prospects.

He said there was also the expectation of Indian people that “Pakistan will show tangible movement in investigating the bringing justice quickly to those Pakistanis responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008, including those whose trial is presently underway in Islamabad.”

India, on his part, Mukherjee said, was committed to resolution of all outstanding issues with Pakistan, “including those pertaining to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir” through peaceful dialogue.