The PMs peace overtures

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there should be no pre-conditions for talks with Pakistan, but firmly linked his readiness to take forward the peace initiative to Islamabad’s ability to prevent Pak-based terror groups from attacking India. Asked if his Wednesday’s statement calling on Pakistan to destroy terror camps on its soil was a pre-condition, he said, “It should not be a precondition.’’ But he underlined that domestic support for peace with Pakistan—essential for the government’s efforts succeeding—would be markedly absent if terror attacks did not stop. At a press conference in Srinagar, the PM signalled his readiness to take forward the peace initiative with Pakistan while emphasising that although India was ready to engage on all issues, acts of terrorism could not go hand in hand with talks. “India is a democracy, we can’t create an atmosphere for negotiations if terrorism continues,’’ Singh said, drawing his political red lines. Singh elaborated by saying that though he may not insist on the immediate dismantling of terror camps in Pakistan, “there is a practical way of looking at (things). Negotiations can’t make headway unless Pakistan brings under effective control these terror groups’’. He added, “If day in and day out terrorists continue the attacks and take precious lives, we cannot create an atmosphere for talks.’’

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