Ahead of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's visit to Islamabad next month, India Monday decided to step up consultations between its foreign and home ministries to compile evidence on the alleged Pakistan-origin of the morphed images of Assam violence.
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai met Krishna and briefed him about the alleged role of Pakistan-based elements in using morphed images on the internet that triggered an exodus of northeastern people from other states, government sources said.
It was decided that the external affairs ministry will await inputs from the home ministry before deciding on how to take up the issue with Pakistan, said the sources.
A final decision on presenting the evidence to Pakistan will be taken after inter-ministerial consultations, said sources.
Krishna goes to Islamabad on a three-day visit Sep 7 for talks with his counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar that will focus on reviewing the second round of dialogue that was revived early last year following a hiatus after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
The talks are expected to encompass all bilateral issues, including terrorism and Kashmir, and the recent issue of the morphed images is set to figure in the discussions.
Krishna is likely to take up the issue of morphed pictures as such incidents show that elements engaged in anti-India propaganda continue to be active in Pakistan, sources said.
During the talks, India is also set to highlight the activities of Hafiz Saeed, the alleged 26/11 mastermind, who continues to spout anti-India rhetoric with impunity.
Such anti-India campaigns were not conducive to creating a healthy atmosphere for improved relations, said sources.
Thousands of people from the northeast fled the Indian states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu last week after hate messages were spread through mobile phones and on Facebook, threatening retaliation for the ethnic violence in Assam last month.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said elements based in Pakistan used social networking websites to circulate morphed pictures to whip up communal tension in India. This was conveyed by Shinde to Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik during a telephonic conversation Sunday.
Islamabad rejected the charges and demanded evidence to prove it.
"The Indian minister has said that rumours were generated from Pakistan through cellular services," Malik told reporters in Islamabad while referring to his phone conversation with Shinde.
"I had requested him (Shinde) to provide evidence in this regard to us and we will take care of it," Malik added.
Against this backdrop, Indian authorities were compiling technical evidence with a view to presenting it to Pakistan, said the sources.
The consultations on presenting the evidence were still going on, said the sources, adding that the external affairs ministry and home ministry were in touch on the issue.