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India proposes foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 04, 2010 17:08 IST
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Reflecting thaw in relations with Pakistan, India has proposed foreign secretary-level talks to discuss terrorism and any other issue that could lead to peace between the two neighbours.

Sources on Thursday said the offer of talks has been made to Pakistan and a reply is awaited.

At the talks, the sources said, India intends to raise the issue of terrorism and any other matter that could 'contribute to creating atmosphere of peace and security' between the two countries.

India will 'enter into the discussions with an open and positive mind' and will raise all 'relevant issues,' they said.

On the outcome of the proposed meeting, the sources said this should not be pre-judged.

India had suspended the composite dialogue after 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and refused to restart the process before it could see any concrete action being taken by Pakistan in punishing those behind the carnage.

The softening of India's stand came apparently after Pakistan produced evidence against arrested Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists, including its commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi in a court in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

The evidence was based on a series of dossiers provided to Pakistan by India in connection with the incident.

Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had indicated two days ago about resumption of the talks when he had said, "Doors for talks were never shut."

On Wednesday, Krishna said India would be satisfied if Pakistan takes 'a few steps' with regard to investigations into the 26/11 carnage.

The offer for foreign secretary-level talks comes as Union Home Minister P Chidambaram prepares to travel to Pakistan on February 26 to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooeration Interior Ministers' Conference, which will mark the first high-level visit from India since the November 2008 attacks.

During his visit, Chidambaram is likely to have a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik and some other leaders.

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