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Days before 26/11, Zardari pledged reconciliation with India

Delhi,Diplomacy,Indo-Pak/Pakistan, Sat, 07 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) President Asif Ali Zardari, coming here on a day-long trip Sunday, was the first Pakistani leader who promised a "no-first nuclear strike" against India, talking of change and reconciliation between the two neighbours in 2008, days before terrorists from Pakistan caused mayhem in Mumbai.


"I can assure you that Pakistan will not be the first country ever to use (nuclear weapons)," Zardari told the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here Nov 22, 2008 via a satellite link from Islamabad.


"I hope that things never come to a stage where we have to even think about using nuclear weapons (against India)," said the Pakistan president.


But days later, 10 Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai by the sea and slaughtered 166 people at multiple places over three days.


The attack, which also left nine of the terrorists dead and one, Ajmal Kasab, captured alive, froze the improving ties between the two nations.


At the HT summit that year, Zardari borrowed a quote from his late wife, Benazir Bhutto, who said there's a "little bit of India in every Pakistani".


"I do not know whether it is the Indian or the Pakistani in me that is talking to you today," Zardari said.


"The PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) and its government have always had a hands-off policy towards India," he said.


At the summit, he said the two nations should not feel threatened by each other.


"We don't feel threatened by India. India should also not feel threatened by us. I want change and reconciliation."


Over three years since, India and Pakistan have resumed peace talks even as there have been no concrete results to solve pending issues between them, including bringing perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice.


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