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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Caught In A Tango

Indo-Pak anti-terror talks may have lost its wind with the blast

Caught In A Tango
Tribhuvan Tiwari
Caught In A Tango
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Soon after the firebombing of the Delhi-Attari Express (link train of the Samjhauta Express), two assertions appeared in the media: first, that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) was behind the blast; second, a call had been been traced to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir soon after the blow-up. These two nuggets were predictably designed to suggest a Pakistani hand behind the bombing even before the probe had begun in earnest. Yet, during the media interaction at Delhi's Hyderabad House, the reaction of foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee—flanked by his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri—to a Pakistani journalist's query on the LeT angle was guarded. Pranab said, "It would not be possible to conjecture anything unless the (investigative) process is complete. At the Islamabad meeting, the information will be shared with authorities there."

The Islamabad meeting Pranab was referring to, slated for March 6, will be the first such of the joint anti-terror mechanism, set up with much fanfare at the Havana summit between PM Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf last September. Ironically, the mechanism had been predisposed to elicit Pakistan's response on evidence of involvement of its citizens in the blasts that periodically rock India. Most of these cases invariably find Indian leaders claiming to possess "credible evidence" about Pakistan fomenting terror attacks.

Post the Attari Express blast, senior government officials say "the entire context of the joint mechanism has changed...India has been put in the predicament of now having to explain to Pakistan how its citizens lost their lives in India". The shoe is clearly on the other foot. In the public battle for hearts and minds, India would now have to provide a progress report on the blast investigations, thereby allowing Pakistan to exploit a huge window of...
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