Indian external affairs minister arrives in Pakistan

19:20, July 14, 2010      

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Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna arrived in Pakistan's capital Islamabad on Wednesday on a three-day visit for bilateral talks to explore ways for " restoring trust and confidence" in the relationship, officials said.

Krishna, leading a 15-member delegation, was received at the Islamabad airport by his Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi Shahid Malik. Senior foreign ministry officials and Indian diplomats were also present at the airport.

Officials said that Krishna will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday and both sides will try to pave the way for resumption of the process of composite dialogue process.

The dialogue process was abandoned after the 2008 Mumbai attacks,blamed on Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group.

Contact between the estranged neighbors has intensified in recent months, seen partly as a result of the United States pressure for a solution in the volatile region.

Besides bilateral talks, the Indian minister is scheduled to call on Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, officials said.

The Indian foreign minister will also meet Pakistani political leaders from the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML- N) party.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said that " dramatic results could not be expected in one meeting."

"But it will be a great success if we agreed on the engagement process," he said. The spokesman told media persons that relations between Pakistan and India are complex and there is lack of trust for decades.

Basit said that all issues will be discussed during the talks and priority will be to that the meeting leads to a sustained and uninterrupted engagement between the two countries.

Officials said that the foreign-minister level talks are being undertaken in pursuance of the mandate given by the prime ministers of India and Pakistan, during their meeting at Thimphu, Bhutan in April, 2010, to the foreign ministers.

The foreign ministers have been assigned to work out the modalities of restoring trust and confidence in the relationship, thus paving the way for a substantive dialogue on issues of mutual concern.

According to official sources, the issue of counter terrorism and any other matter that could contribute to create an atmosphere of peace and security between the two countries will be raised.

Krishna said recently that his talks in Islamabad will help eliminate the "trust deficit" between the two neighbors. He also said that any step forward in the direction of investigating the Mumbai attack by Islamabad will make it easier to carry out normalization of business with Pakistan.

Officials said that Pakistan will raise the human rights situation in the Indian-administered Kashmir with Krishna.

Source: Xinhua


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