New Delhi, May 27 IANS | 7 months ago

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday clearly articulated India's concerns on terrorism at a "good, substantive and constructive" meeting he had with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

The first meeting between India's newly-elected prime minister, who assumed charge of his office Tuesday, and Sharif was held at Hyderabad House here with the two sides agreeing that their foreign secretaries will be in touch to discuss the future roadmap for talks.

Modi "underlined his concerns on terrorism and expressed the hope that Pakistan will abide by its commitment to not allow its territory or territories controlled by it to be used for terrorist activities against India", Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told media.

He also called for a speedy trial of Pakistanis accused of masterminding the Mumbai terror attack of 2008.

The bilateral relationship between the two countries has been bedevilled by what India views as Pakistan's hesitation in taking action against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Sharif had Monday joined leaders from SAARC countries at the swearing in of Modi as India's 14th prime minister. He met Modi Tuesday for what was called a "courtesy meeting" by officials.

"The meeting was very constructive. Both sides were trying to address each other's concerns," Singh said.

"We want peaceful relations with Pakistan. However, for such relations to proceed it is important that terror and violence is brought to an end," she said when asked whether the meeting could open a new chapter in bilateral relations.

The foreign secretary said that India's "concerns on terrorism were clearly articulated" during the 45-minute meeting between the two prime ministers.

Singh did not confirm or deny if Modi had raised with Sharif concerns about involvement of terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba in the attack on the Indian consulate in Herat in Afghanistan last week.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has stated that, according to information given to his government by a Western intelligence agency, Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the attack on the Indian consulate.

Answering a query if the issue was raised with Sharif, Singh said she did not intend to discuss in detail what was discussed.

"It is not the practice to go into detailed aspects," she said.

She gave a similar reply when asked if Modi raised the issue of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim who is said to be living in Pakistan.

"I don't want to go into details. It was a confidential meeting. Much more was discussed besides terror."

On Kashmir, she said that foreign secretaries of the two countries will meet and discuss the way forward. "Our stand on Kashmir is well known. We need not reiterate them."

She said Modi has been invited to Pakistan and he had accepted the invitation but no dates had been fixed yet.

Asked about India getting NDMA (non-discriminatory market access) status from Pakistan, she said that there was also discussion on trade.

"Both the prime ministers expressed the desire to get this done as early as possible."

She said meetings with all SAARC leaders were held in a "friendly, cordial atmosphere".

(Posted on 27-05-2014)

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