NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, told his Pakistani counterpart on Tuesday that Pakistan must prevent militants from using its soil to attack India, suggesting a tough approach that will undermine hopes in Pakistan for more substantial talks.
Modi invited Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other regional leaders for his inauguration on Monday, a move aimed at improving ties with neighbors that have in the past held back economic growth in South Asia.
But India’s new premier made clear New Delhi’s concerns over terrorism and stressed the need for Pakistan to act against the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed. The assault remains a stumbling block to improved ties.
“PM underlined our concerns relating to terrorism. It was conveyed that Pakistan must abide by its commitment to prevent its territory and territory under its control from being used for terrorism against India,” Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh told reporters after the meeting.
The meeting on Modi’s first day as prime minister had raised hopes that the nuclear rivals might try and seek a breakthrough early on in the new administration in New Delhi.
Pakistan has long been seeking a full resumption of dialogue that India broke off following the attacks on Mumbai blamed on Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.
“The PMs agreed that the foreign secretaries will remain in touch and explore how to move forward,” Singh said.
Modi said the two countries could move toward towards normalizing trade ties that have been held hostage to their political differences.
Additional reporting by John Chalmers; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Ron Popeski