Manmohan, Gilani begin meeting in Thimphu

April 29th, 2010 - 4:24 pm ICT by ANI  

Thimphu (Bhutan), Apr.29 (ANI): The much awaited meeting between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan began here a short while ago on the sidelines of the XVIth SAARC Summit.

This the first meeting between the two leaders after their meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh in July 2009.

Both leaders are being assisted at the talks by their respective senior officials.

The Indian side includes National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharad Sabharwal and senior officials of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Pakistan side includes Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, senior officials of the Pakistan Foreign Office and Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik.

The two sides are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, including terrorism and the water dispute settlement etc.

A media briefing on what transpired at the meeting is expected in a short while from now.

Earlier in the day, Indian External Affairs MInister S M Krishna had said that New Delhi wants good relations with Pakistan.

Speaking ahead of the bilateral talks between Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani, Krishna said there was no point reacting to remarks made by the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit or anyone else representing Islamabad.

“We are not going to react on the remarks made by anybody and everybody,” the minister said.

Basit had last night said that India and Pakistan should follow-up from the talks held at the Egyptian resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh in July in 2009 and it should be the foundation of any talks between India and Pakistan.

“Our expectation is that the meeting would result in a meaningful and irreversible engagement between the two countries,” Basit told mediapersons here on Wednesday on the sidelines of the XVIth SAARC Summit.

“We want both countries to come to an agreement,” he added.

While Pakistan is insisting that the Sharm-al-Sheikh document, which delinks terrorism from composite dialogue, should be the basis for talks, India is sticking to its position that there can be no composite dialogue, but only a channel of communication open till Pakistan takes credible action against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks in Mumbai.

“Dialogue is the only way forward. And secondly, the peace process should not be overshadowed by issues of terrorism,” Basit said.

According to the reliable sources, it is going to be a brief affair in terms of bilateral talks between India and Pakistan before the concluding session of SAARC Summit. (ANI)

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