Thimphu: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani for the first substantive dialogue in nine months on Thursday during which he is understood to have conveyed India’s deep disappointment over Islamabad’s inaction to punish perpetrators of Mumbai attacks.
Singh and Gilani met in this picturesque Bhutanese capital on the margins of the 16th Saarc Summit, their first meeting after their controversial engagement in Sharm-el- Sheikh in Egypt in July last year.
Before beginning their meeting, which began almost 40 minutes later than the originally scheduled time, Singh and Gilani shook hands and greeted each other warmly.
Ahead of this meeting, 77-year-old Singh and 57-year old Gilani had shook hands twice on Wednesday during the opening day of the Summit and took a stroll together at the insistence of other leaders.
During the meeting, Singh is believed to have conveyed to Gilani India’s strong demand for action by Pakistan against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.
India had suspended the composite dialogue after the Mumbai attacks and has linked its resumption to action against terror.
The Prime Minister is also understood to have sought an update on Pakistan’s investigation and trial in the Mumbai attacks case in that country, sources said.
While the Indian delegation consisted of external affairs minister SM Krishna, national security adviser Shivshankar Menon and foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, the Pakistani delegation included foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and foreign secretary Salman Bashir and others.
All eyes were on the meeting.
The joint statement issued after Sharm-el Sheikh meeting had triggered a major controversy in India over reference to “threats” in Balochistan, where Pakistan has been alleging Indian hand in terror incidents.
The statement also appeared to delink the composite dialogue process from action on terrorism by Pakistan. India had suspended the composite dialogue process after the Mumbai attacks.