India happy at forward movement in ties with Pak

India Saturday underlined "forward movement" in bilateral relations with Pakistan.

Updated: Nov 05, 2011, 14:18 PM IST

New Delhi: Welcoming Islamabad`s decision to grant MFN status to New Delhi, India Saturday underlined "forward movement" in bilateral relations, saying "all issues" will be discussed when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani hold bilateral talks in the Maldives next week.
Manmohan Singh will be meeting all the South Asian leaders on the sidelines of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in the Maldives, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters.

"With Pakistan there has been positive indications," Mathai said. Alluding to Pakistan`s prompt action in releasing an Indian helicopter and crew within hours after it strayed into the Pakistani territory last month and the granting of the Most Favoured Nation status to India, Mathai stressed these are "indications of forward movement" in bilateral relations.

"All issues in bilateral relations will be discussed," Mathai said when when asked about the agenda for the meeting between Manmohan Singh and Gilani next week. The bilateral talks are expected to be held on Friday (November 11) morning at the picturesque Addu Atoll, well-placed sources said.

"We are committed to building a normal and stable relationship with Pakistan. Minor trends should not derail the overall trend towards a better relationship," he said.

The two leaders are expected to discuss a swathe of bilateral issues, including Kashmir and terrorism.

They are expected to come out with a joint statement, declaring their resolve to push forward the peace process. The focus will be on confidence-building measures and increased people-to-people contacts.

This will be the first meeting between the leaders of India and Pakistan since they last met in Thimphu last year on the margins of the SAARC summit and instructed their foreign ministers to explore ways to reduce trust deficit.
The meeting paved the way for the resumption of the peace process between the two neighbours early this year.