India soon plans to invite Pakistan's foreign secretary to New Delhi for talks on counterterrorism in March, reports the Times of India. Pakistan's progress on arresting and prosecuting residents involved in the planning and execution of the November 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai will figure prominently on the agenda, the paper said, citing Indian home secretary Gopal K. Pillai.
"I will call my Pakistani counterpart this week inviting him to New Delhi for talks. I will propose two sets of dates to him for a meeting in the second-half of next month," the paper quoted Pillai as saying.
Coming after India last week caved on its demand that Pakistan make progress on the Mumbai attacks before it resumes diplomatic relations -- and agreed to go back to discussing Kashmir and "all outstanding issues" -- the tough talk from Pillai is not terribly convincing. (Just for giggles: Pillai is the guy that Pakistan's ex foreign minister, dropped shortly after the announcement that talks would resume, last July compared to alleged terrorist mastermind Hafiz Saeed).
Here's more of what Pillai had to say:
On the issues to be taken up during the meeting with Pakistani interior secretary Chaudhry Qamar Zaman, Pillai told a news agency, "We will ask for voice transcripts (of perpetrators of 26/11) even though the trial court has said no. We will ask them why they have not gone and appealed. I am sure the high court or the Supreme Court may have said that the voice transcripts can be given."
Referring to lack of action on the part of Pakistan, the home secretary said, "So far most of the people they have caught are all chaps who have sold outboard engines or... driven a taxi and not any of the main people whose voice has been identified by Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley."
He added, "I think by now, if they wanted, they could have arrested the main persons behind it (26/11 attacks). No use catching people on the streets... and not the real controllers and those who are behind it (attacks)."
Asked what prevented Pakistan from taking strong action against those responsible for the attack, Pillai said Headley's own evidence clearly showed that there was support of certain elements in the Pakistan state. So, to that extent, anything which leads back to them, there is "total deniability", Pillai said.