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Upcoming Talks
India, Pakistan discuss agenda
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 30
India and Pakistan have initiated discussions on the agenda for the high-level meetings that are coming up as part of the normalisation process. Sources today said Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao met Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik last week and discussed the contours of the talks. The May 24 meeting took place at the instance of the Pakistani envoy.

Home Minister P Chidambaram is scheduled to visit Islamabad for the SAARC Interior Ministersí meeting on June 26 while External Affairs Minister SM Krishna will travel to the neighbouring country on July 15.

Nirupama, too, will be visiting Islamabad a day or two before Chidambaram goes there. She will meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir and finalise the agenda for the July 15 talks between Krishna and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the first structured meeting between the two countries at the political level since the Mumbai attack.

After their meeting in Thimphu on April 29, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani had asked their foreign ministers and foreign secretaries to meet and work out the modalities of restoring trust and confidence in bilateral ties.

At his press conference last week, Manmohan Singh had quite clearly articulated his view India could not realise its full development potential until it has normal relations with all its neighbours, especially Pakistan.

However, New Delhi has continued to pressurise Pakistan to bring to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. Sources said the pressure would continue to be maintained on Islamabad in the midst of attempts to normalise bilateral ties.

The recent dismissal of the governmentís appeal against the release of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed by the Pakistan Supreme Court has disappointed India as the latter considers him the mastermind of the Mumbai massacre. India feels that Pakistan has still not built a foolproof case against Saeed to nail him. This will be impressed upon Islamabad when Chidambaram visits the neighbouring country. The Home Minister is expected to present to Pakistan interior Minister Rehman Mailk more evidence that India has collected of Saeedís involvement in the Mumbai attack.

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