Times of India
July 22, 2008

NEW DELHI: India on Monday risked the future of the composite dialogue with Pakistan by directly accusing it of causing the suicide blast in the embassy in Kabul.

Taking an unusually tough line against Pakistan, foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told journalists after launching the fifth round of composite dialogue with his Pakistani counterpart, Salman Bashir, “All our information in the ongoing investigation points to elements in Pakistan being behind the blast.”

Menon’s unusually strong statements come days after national security adviser M K Narayanan first revealed that Pakistan’s ISI was suspected as teaming up with the Taliban to activate the blast. The fact that Menon chose the foreign secretaries’ dialogue to say this is significant. Bashir said the NSA’s comments had caused “disquiet in Pakistan. It is imperative to refrain from the blame game. Pakistan was among the first to condemn the Kabul attack. I asked India to provide intelligence or evidence.”

Menon said the meeting was important because the “composite dialogue was under stress”. Recent incidents, he said, had “vitiated” the atmosphere. The meeting clearly was tense and relations with Pakistan are on the downswing, though Menon reaffirmed India’s faith in the dialogue. But the dynamic has seriously altered with Pakistan.

India has not confirmed whether there will be any meeting between Pakistan PM Yousaf Gillani and PM Manmohan Singh in Colombo during Saarc, neither has it announced any dates for the anti-terror meet, which is now virtually defunct. Kabul drove the final nail on the joint anti-terror mechanism coffin.

Full article here

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