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Chidambaram may visit Pak for SAARC meet

Source: PTI
January 28, 2010 16:59 IST
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In the midst of current chill in Indo-Pak relations, a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation home ministers' conference is scheduled next month in Islamabad to which Union Home Minister P Chidambaram plans to go subject to Foreign Office's approval.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will discuss the issue and if the external affairs ministry allows, the home minister will travel to Pakistan to attend the SAARC meeting, a highly placed source said.

The SAARC Interior/Home Ministers' conference is scheduled to be held from February 20 for three days in Islamabad.

In case Chidambaram travels to Islamabad, it would be the first ministerial visit to Pakistan since May, 2008, when the then external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee had gone for talks as part of composite dialogue. Things worsened after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

The third SAARC interior ministers' conference was postponed from November 24 and 27, 2009 at the request from Bangladesh because of parliamentary polls in that country.

The meeting will be attended by ministers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and is expected to discuss regional cooperation for dealing with the menace of terrorism, narcotics and organised crime.

The first such meeting was held in Dhaka on May 11, 2006; followed by a meeting in New Delhi on October 25, 2007.

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