Pak 26/11 trial progress encouraging: Salman Khurshid

Salman Khurshid

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid cautiously welcomed on Friday the progress in the 26/11Mumbai terror attack trial in Pakistan, saying reports reaching New Delhi suggest that evidence submitted to the court recently is "indicative of some transparency and acceptance of what has happened".

Khurshid, who was speaking to reporters on his way to Myanmar, did not elaborate but felt that this represented "little movement" towards establishing accountability for the attack. "Now we don't know how they will describe it as non-state actors or state actors but there is certainly more information which is coming through official channels," he said.

Referring to Pakistani Interior minister Rehman Malik's visit to India starting Friday, Khurshid said the Indian side will make a case for a "fast-track trial" during bilateral talks since there is "some indication that it may happen".

However, he sought to downplay expectations when asked about possible outcomes from the visit. "We should go with an open mind and with a reasonable determination to push things in a direction we want them to go. We should not really have very great expectations because there are constraints and limitations within which we operate. But nevertheless, we will push," he said. "We have a very clear-cut agenda and we will push for each item. Not necessarily that in a short visit like this we expect anything dramatic but I certainly think at the end of the visit we will see and feel little more positive than we do for the moment."

At the same, the external affairs minister was clear that the gradual forward movement so far was not enough for the Prime Minister to visit Pakistan. "My personal view is that time is too short. They are moving very fast towards elections. But it also depends on how things shape up. Every meeting, every event can lead to fresh analysis and fresh assessment. And finally, it will be the Prime Minister's call," he said.

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