M A I N   N E W S

SAARC Summit
PM-Gilani meet likely in Bhutan
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, April 22
A substantive meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on the margins of the 16th SAARC Summit in Bhutan is not ruled out though a top Indian official today said no such bilateral engagement was scheduled as of now.

Addressing a press conference on the summit to be held on April 28-29 in Thimphu, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, however, appeared in a conciliatory mood as far as India’s relationship with Pakistan was concerned.

“We have always said dialogue represents a concrete method to move forward…that was the approach we took at the Foreign Secretary-level talks (in New Delhi on February 25) and there is no change in our stand,’’ she said.Nirupama regretted that Pakistan had not taken any significant step to address India’s concerns on the issue of terrorism. "The situation has not really changed. We need action in terms of movement on the Mumbai terror attacks," she said.

She noted that the level of infiltration from across the border in the last few months had been a cause for concern to India and the terrorist infrastructure still remained intact in Pakistan. The activities of terrorist groups operating from the Pakistani soil had also not stopped.

She also pointed out that Pakistan was yet to give any response or feedback on the three dossiers that India handed over at the meeting between the two foreign secretaries.Meanwhile, official sources said it would be impossible for Manmohan Singh and Gilani to avoid meeting each other in the bilateral format in Bhutan as that would send wrong signals and give a fresh setback to the relations between the two countries.When it was pointed out that the two merely shook hands and did not hold a bilateral meeting recently in Washington on the margins of the Nuclear Security Summit, the sources explained that since so many world leaders were present in the American capital at that time, the two Prime Ministers could conveniently avoid holding a substantive meeting. 





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