LoC killings: PM calls BJP top brass today to lower the heat


Reaching out to the BJP to explain the government's position on talks with Pakistan in the wake of the LoC killings, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the top BJP brass for a meeting on Wednesday evening.

BJP parliamentary party chairman L K Advani, party president Rajnath Singh and Leaders of Opposition in both Houses Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley are slated to attend the meeting. Also present will be External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.

Singh's decision comes amid calls from the BJP Tuesday to cancel his proposed meeting with Pakistan's new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Singh-Sharif meeting is expected end-September on the margins of the UN General Assembly.

Sources said Singh, with his aides, will seek to underline the importance of remaining engaged with Pakistan. He is also expected to make the point that while infiltration attempts have increased, levels of violence have come down along the LoC. The PM will look to assure the BJP leaders that talks will progress only on the condition that Islamabad takes credible action on the terror front.

Singh, sources said, also wants to clear the air on what's been conveyed as preconditions for resuming the dialogue process. The government is said to be quite upset by Pak officials claiming that resumption of dialogue was not predicated on progress on the 26/11 trial.

In fact, Singh is likely to tell the BJP that he had made it clear to Shahryar Khan — who had come as Sharif's special emissary — that Pakistan needs to show serious progress on curbing terror directed against India for the peace process to move forward.

Further, it's learnt that the government has decided to sit on Pakistan's proposal for resuming the stalled dialogue process through talks on the Tulbul navigation project. That process was moving fast with the Ministry of External Affairs formally asking both the Water Resources Ministry and the Defence Ministry for their "convenience" on dates suggested by Pakistan for the next round of talks on the Tulbul navigation project and Sir Creek.

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