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India Wants Pakistan to Crackdown on Terrorism Before Peace Talks


Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says he wants India to try and make peace with Pakistan, but that Islamabad first should take "strong and effective" action to end terrorism.

Mr. Singh made the comments to reporters while returning from a summit (of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) in Russia, where he met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari for the first time since last November's terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Prime Minister Singh said President Zardari told him Pakistan is sincere in fighting terrorism, but that it will take some time. The Prime Minister said he urged Mr. Zardari to dismantle what he called "the infrastructure of terror" inside Pakistan.

Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained since the Mumbai attacks, which killed more than 170 people. India has accused a Pakistan-based militant group (Lashkar-e-Taiba) as well as Pakistani intelligence agents of participating in the attack.

Pakistan has admitted the attacks were planned in part in its territory, but denies government agents were involved.

More meetings between representatives of the two nations are expected in the coming weeks. Indian officials say terrorism remains the top issue.

While the talks do not appear to mark the resumption of the stalled peace process, Pakistan's foreign minister says Islamabad would like India to return to the negotiating table.

U.S. officials say they support dialogue between the two countries to resolve their territorial dispute in Kashmir, so they can focus on fighting domestic terrorist groups.


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