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India-Pakistan Foreign secy talks in Islamabad

Indian and Pakistani Foreign Secretaries will meet June 23-24 in Islamabad, possibly setting the stage for talks between their Foreign Ministers later this year.



New Delhi: Indian and Pakistani Foreign Secretaries will meet June 23-24 in Islamabad, possibly setting the stage for talks between their Foreign Ministers later this year.

This would be their first engagement since they met in February in Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital, on the sidelines of the SAARC summit.

The talks between the top diplomats could lead to the revival of political talks at the ministerial level since the failed talks in mid-July last year, officials said.

Earlier this year, the two neighbours had agreed to resume their comprehensive dialogue on all outstanding issues "in a constructive and forward-looking manner".

A terse note put out by the Ministry of External Affairs said: "Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet in Islamabad on June 23-24, 2011 to discuss peace and security, including CBMs (confidence-building measures); Jammu and Kashmir; and promotion of friendly exchanges.

The talks would naturally have terror right on top of the agenda. Pakistani American Daood Gilani, aka David Coleman Headley`s revelations about the role of the Pakistani spy agency ISI and its complicity in the Mumbai terror attack is likely to be brought up by the Indian side.

In an interaction with Pakistani journalists last week, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had said: "We want Pakistan to do more to bring the culprits of the Mumbai attacks to justice. Let me tell you, we are not asking for the moon. We are not asking for unrealistic things. We are asking for justice," she said.

Rao underlined that India was committed to a dialogue with Pakistan, which resumed earlier this year after a hiatus of over two years following the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people.

"India has shown courage to resume the dialogue with Pakistan as we believe that it is the best way to resolve problems peacefully. We should aim for a sustained dialogue and we must not be impatient. Every step we have taken so far in this regard is a meaningful step," she said.

This will be the last Islamabad visit by Foreign Secretary Rao before she retires at the end of July.

IANS

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