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India, Pakistan 'had very good talks'

Thimphu, April 29, 2010

The prime ministers of India and Pakistan had 'very good talks' on Thursday and have asked their officials to take steps as soon as possible to normalise relations, India's top diplomat said.

The meeting signaled some improvement in ties between the two rivals that have been in a diplomatic freeze since the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Stability between the two nuclear powers is seen as key to helping US led efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani are in Bhutan for a summit of South Asian leaders. This was their first meeting in nine months.

'The idea was on renewal of dialogue; to understand the state of affairs,' Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told a news conference after their meeting.   

'There was a lot of soul-searching here. The searchlight is on the future, not on the past.'    

She said the two prime ministers had asked their foreign ministers and foreign secretaries to meet 'as soon as possible to work out the modalities for restoring trust' and taking the dialogue forward.   

Both sides have been tentative about meeting. There are differences over the nature of talks: Pakistan wants India to restart the broader peace process it broke off after the Mumbai attack, while India wants to go slow until Islamabad acts against the planners of that carnage.   

But Thursday's meeting signaled New Delhi was willing to make a calibrated shift from its well-entrenched position on resuming talks with Rao saying the focus was how to carry the dialogue forward to resolve 'all issues of concern'.

'I do not think we have to get stuck with nomenclature. Both sides agreed dialogue was the only way forward,' she said when asked if these talks were not in effect resumption of the broader peace dialogue India suspended after the Mumbai attacks. - Reuters




Tags: India | Pakistan | Bhutan | Saarc |

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