Singh tones down hopes for Pak talksAgence France-Presse . Washington
The Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, on Friday toned down expectations for his planned meeting with Premier Nawaz Sharif this weekend at the UN, saying Pakistan remained an ‘epicentre of terrorism.’
Singh, making what will likely be a farewell visit to the White House after a decade in power, told the president, Barack Obama, that India still faced ‘difficulties’ because of the activities of its neighbour and bitter rival.
Singh and Sharif are expected to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York despite the tensions. A diplomat said the talks were expected Sunday morning.
‘I look forward to the meeting with (the prime minister) Nawaz Sharif even though the expectations have to be toned down given the terror arm which is still active in our subcontinent,’ Sharif told reporters in the Oval Office.
Singh told Obama that India was facing difficulties because the ‘epicentre of terrorist activity remains focused in Pakistan.’
India has blamed militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and even elements of the Pakistani state for attacks on its soil, including the assault in a luxury hotel on Mumbai nearly five years ago which killed 166 people.
Deadly skirmishes across the de facto border in divided Kashmir meanwhile have jeopardised the atmospherics for the meeting in New York, which would come months after peace talks again stalled between the two neighbours.
Since winning an election in May, Sharif has been vocal in his desire for better relations with India, but the recent flare-ups have overshadowed the prospects.
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