M A I N   N E W S

Govt, CPI hold talks on foreign policy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 8
In a move to take along parties of different ideological spectrum in the foreign policy formulation, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today held consultations with the CPI and the discussions focussed on the ethnic strike in Sri Lanka.

The meeting assume importance as Mr Mukherjee is embarking on a whirlwind tour of neighbouring countries, including Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Pakistan, to invite the leaders of these countries to the 14th SAARC summit to be held here in April this year.

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had held discussions with the BJP, External Affairs Minister had earlier held consultations with the CPM leaders.

The entire focus of the discussion was on India's neighbourhood and India's relations with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Sources said that in the discussions with CPI leader today Pranab Mukherjee made it clear that the ethnic problem in the Island nation could not have a military solution.

CPI National Secretary D Raja urged that India should extend humanitarian assistance by sending food and other materials to the people of Jaffna and other Tamil-dominated areas and to also scrutinise whether they reach the needy.

He said Mukherjee briefed him on the relations with Pakistan where the government is pursuing the composite dialogue process. He would be meeting President Pervez Musharraff and Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri when he visits Islamabad next week.

On the ongoing Composite Dialogue Process with Pakistan, the Left leader apprised the Centre that the discussions with Pakistan should continue, but India should not turn complacent.

On Nepal, the minister told Mr Raja that the government was watching the situation in the Himalayan nation, which was in the process of bringing in an interim constitution.

In Bangladesh, the current election process including the threatened boycott by Awami League and other parties was engaging government's attention, he said.

The meetings come amid ongoing preparations for negotiating bilateral agreement to operationalise the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, on which both the BJP and the Left have voiced serious concern.



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