Pakistan’s NSA in India, talks Monday on countering terror

October 11th, 2008 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Mahmud Ali Durrani arrived here Saturday on a five-day visit to India during which the two countries are expected to focus on terrorism and their Kashmir dispute. Durrani, who enjoys the status of a federal minister and is a former ambassador to the US, will hold talks with his Indian counterpart M.K. Narayanan Monday.

The two officials will decide the date for the next meeting of their anti-terror mechanism which will focus on India’s suspicions about the alleged complicity of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI in the July 7 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul.

The meeting was agreed between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in New York last month.

With a spurt in terror attacks in both countries, the two sides are also expected to focus on improving counter-terrorism intelligence sharing during the delegation-level talks.

As Durrani has been a key figure in the Track-II peace process, the two sides are also expected to explore a peace deal that they can sell to their respective domestic constituencies.

Zardari’s remarks in a recent media interview describing militants in Jammu and Kashmir as “terrorists” - which he later retracted due to domestic compulsions - are seen here as a sign of the strong desire of the new regime in Islamabad to improve relations with India.

The two sides will discuss the dates for the remaining items in the fifth round of the composite dialogue that was launched by the foreign secretaries of the two countries in July.

Durrani’s will be the first visit by a top Pakistani official after Zardari late last month reaffirmed to Manmohan Singh Islamabad’s January 2004 pledge not to allow Pakistani territory to be used for terrorist activities against India.

During the talks, India will also raise its concerns about increasing Line of Control (LoC) ceasefire violations and cross-border infiltration.

Durrani, an old India hand, will also call on Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee before returning home Oct 15. He will also meet Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh.

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