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PM's visit to Pak ruled out for now
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NEW DELHI, Nov 21 (Agencies): An early visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan is ruled out as it can happen only when there is "specific delivery" from Islamabad on issues concerning India, highly-placed sources in government said today.

Pakistan needs to deliver on a "wish list" that India has given during the visit of the then Home Minister P Chidambaram to that country in 2010, the sources said.

They said Pakistan was very keen on such a visit by Singh but it cannot happen on a unilateral basis.

"Pakistan knows what we want. Home Minister Chidambaram when he went there gave a wish list. Our present understanding and assessment is we have not reached a level that there has been adequate delivery and we can go on.

"We sincerely hope that there will be a specific delivery. We hope that it will happen in the future and then we can think of it (visit by the PM)," the sources said.

They said India does not consider the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman in the 26/11 attack, as a closure to the terror attack.

India is keen that the perpetrators of the 26/11 attack on trial in Pakistan are brought to justice. "We owe it our people who have suffered that this is done," they said.

The sources said that a visit by Prime Minister is not a matter of sheer courtesy and cannot be done in haste. For relations to become normal, there are some steps needed to be taken on both sides and it was important that Pakistan should take the steps.

The sources said that India has taken note of media reports about statements by prosecution witnesses in the 26/11 trial in Pakistan.

But this still require official confirmation and one cannot jump to conclusions about the progress of the trial or Pakistan's keenness to bring to justice the perpetrators.

On Afghanistan, the sources said India was keen on deeper engagement in military, security and technical cooperation but there was no clarity because the road map of US and Afghanistan was still not clear.

India will watch and then increase its engagement there, they said.

New Delhi does not also believe in good or bad Taliban and sees Taliban as a domestic issue. It also acknowledges Kabul's keenness to engage with them because Talibans are also their citizens.

India, the sources said, was also hopeful of the new Chinese leadership adopting a positive approach towards New Delhi. It does not believe that change of leadership in China would result in change of policy though there may be some fine-tuning.

Prime Minister Singh's meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao in Cambodia earlier this week was seen as a good sign of things to come, the sources said, adding that the indication was that the PM was told that everyone in China wants to take the relationship forward.

On Palestine, the sources said that while India does condemn the "disproportionate use of force" it cannot go beyond a certain point in criticising the actions of Israel because as non-permanent member of the UNSC it cannot be seen to be taking sides.

Also while India's commitment to an independent state of Palestine was not in doubt, the scene has changed now with Palestine also engaging with others in the region which was not the case some years ago. It has to be kept in mind that India also has diplomatic relations with Israel.
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News Updated at : Wednesday, November 21, 2012
 
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