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The Composite Dialogue Process with Pakistan entered its 5th round in 2008-09. The Dialogue had been premised since its resumption in 2004, on the commitment made on 6 January 2004, that Pakistan would not permit territory under its control to be used to support terrorism in any form. Notwithstanding some achievements during the year in segments of the Composite Dialogue Process, terrorism and non-implementation of the 6 January 2004 commitments by Pakistan has eroded the fundamental premise of the Dialogue process. Terrorist attacks in India and on the Indian Embassy in Kabul in July 2008, increase in ceasefire violations and continued infiltration across the LOC placed a strain on the dialogue process in particular and India-Pakistan relations in general. The terrorist attack on Mumbai on 26 November 2008 and concrete evidence of the involvement of elements in Pakistan in the attack led to a pause in the dialogue process.

After the Mumbai attack, the Ministry undertook several steps both bilaterally with Pakistan and at international fora to obtain Pakistan’s cooperation in bringing the Pakistan-based perpetrators to justice and to ensure that such acts do not recur. As a result, the United Nations Al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee listed individual entities based in Pakistan including leaders of theLashkar-e-Taiba under Security Council Resolution 1267. The Jamat-ud-Daawa was also listed as an alias of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. On 12 February 2009, Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad was formally informed of Pakistan’s response to the dossier that India had made available on 5 January linking the terrorist attacks on Mumbai to perpetrators in Pakistan. In their response, Pakistani authorities admitted that elements in Pakistan were involved in the terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Pakistan also sought further information and material relating to the investigation. The then EAM Shri Pranab Mukherjee termed this a positive development in a suo moto statement on 13 February in Parliament. On 13 March 2009, the Government of India provided detailed responses and material to the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi to all 30 questions raised by Pakistan which in turn was acknowledged by Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Despite the above developments and despite high-level statements from Pakistan promising cooperation regarding the Mumbai attack, in terms of actual action taken the response has been disappointing. As a result, there has been a sharp deterioration in bilateral relations.

Responding to the announcement of the new US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, MEA spokesperson on 30 March 2009 welcomed the very “clear expression of will to carry through the struggle against extremism in Afghanistan and its roots in Pakistan” and expressed India’s “readiness to play a constructive role as a responsible power in defeating extremism of all kinds.”

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