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India to hold talks with Pak with open mind

By The Assam Tribune
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Islamabad, June 23 (IANS): India today said it wished to see "a stable and prosperous Pakistan" as the foreign secretaries of the two countries begin two-day talks aimed at discussing all thorny issues that strain bilateral ties and sharpen trust deficit which touched a new low after 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao touched down in the Pakistani capital in the morning and said she was approaching the two days of talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir with an "open and constructive mind".

"I have come to Pakistan with an open mind and a constructive spirit in order to work towards building trust and confidence in our relationship, and thereby leading to an eventual normalisation of relations for the well-being and prosperity of our two peoples," Rao said in her arrival statement.

She added this was an "important visit as it marks the penultimate leg of the resumed dialogue process before the visit of the foreign minister of Pakistan to India by July 2011".

Rao added that the discussions would include "issues that have been mandated to us by our leadership, namely peace and security, including confidence building measures; Jammu & Kashmir and promotion of friendly exchanges".

"I bring with me the best wishes of the people and the government of India for the people and government of Pakistan. We wish to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan," she added.

During her three-day visit to Islamabad, she will also call on Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Rao will return to India Saturday afternoon.

The two-day talks are expected to set the stage for the meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in New Delhi.

This will be the first high-level engagement between the two estranged neighbours since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited and hosted his Pakistani counterpart to the cricket World Cup semi-final in Mohali in March.

During the talks, Rao is expected to convey to her Pakistani counterpart India's disappointment with the slow progress in the trial of terrorists who stormed Mumbai Nov 26, 2008, and latest intelligence inputs that suggest the anti-India terror infrastructure continues to operate on Pakistani soil.

The two sides are also expected to discuss a host of confidence-building measures across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and nuclear CBMs.

Ahead of the talks, India signalled its willingness to discuss all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, but struck a cautionary note against unrealistic expectations.

"I have suggested that all issues that bug both our countries will be discussed when our foreign secretary visits Islamabad," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said on the eve of the talks in New Delhi Wednesday.

"So let's not speculate or let not the expectations be pitched too high because this is one relationship that we have been trying to cultivate in the last few months," he added.

Pakistan has stressed on the need to address what it calls "core issues".

Gilani Tuesday "underlined the imperative of addressing the core issues with sincerity" under the dialogue process that resumed earlier this year.

The Pakistani leader also underscored the need for "increased trade between the two countries as well as the importance of people-to-people contacts", particularly enhanced exchanges of parliamentarians to bring the people of the two countries closer.

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India to hold talks with Pak with open mind

Islamabad, June 23 (IANS): India today said it wished to see "a stable and prosperous Pakistan" as the foreign secretaries of the two countries begin two-day talks aimed at discussing all thorny issues that strain bilateral ties and sharpen trust deficit which touched a new low after 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao touched down in the Pakistani capital in the morning and said she was approaching the two days of talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir with an "open and constructive mind".

"I have come to Pakistan with an open mind and a constructive spirit in order to work towards building trust and confidence in our relationship, and thereby leading to an eventual normalisation of relations for the well-being and prosperity of our two peoples," Rao said in her arrival statement.

She added this was an "important visit as it marks the penultimate leg of the resumed dialogue process before the visit of the foreign minister of Pakistan to India by July 2011".

Rao added that the discussions would include "issues that have been mandated to us by our leadership, namely peace and security, including confidence building measures; Jammu & Kashmir and promotion of friendly exchanges".

"I bring with me the best wishes of the people and the government of India for the people and government of Pakistan. We wish to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan," she added.

During her three-day visit to Islamabad, she will also call on Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Rao will return to India Saturday afternoon.

The two-day talks are expected to set the stage for the meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in New Delhi.

This will be the first high-level engagement between the two estranged neighbours since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited and hosted his Pakistani counterpart to the cricket World Cup semi-final in Mohali in March.

During the talks, Rao is expected to convey to her Pakistani counterpart India's disappointment with the slow progress in the trial of terrorists who stormed Mumbai Nov 26, 2008, and latest intelligence inputs that suggest the anti-India terror infrastructure continues to operate on Pakistani soil.

The two sides are also expected to discuss a host of confidence-building measures across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and nuclear CBMs.

Ahead of the talks, India signalled its willingness to discuss all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, but struck a cautionary note against unrealistic expectations.

"I have suggested that all issues that bug both our countries will be discussed when our foreign secretary visits Islamabad," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said on the eve of the talks in New Delhi Wednesday.

"So let's not speculate or let not the expectations be pitched too high because this is one relationship that we have been trying to cultivate in the last few months," he added.

Pakistan has stressed on the need to address what it calls "core issues".

Gilani Tuesday "underlined the imperative of addressing the core issues with sincerity" under the dialogue process that resumed earlier this year.

The Pakistani leader also underscored the need for "increased trade between the two countries as well as the importance of people-to-people contacts", particularly enhanced exchanges of parliamentarians to bring the people of the two countries closer.

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