Indo-Pak meet begins in Thimphu

Nirupama Rao and Salman Bashir said they would endeavour to find a way forward for talks.

Last Updated: Feb 06, 2011, 21:40 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The meeting between of India and Pakistan has begun here in Thimphu. Earlier in the day, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir said they would endeavour to find a way forward for continued engagement between the two countries.

"We are resuming our contact after interregnum of some time. We have a number of issues to be discussed. As we have always said that dialogue between India and Pakistan is necessary and a must if we are to satisfactorily resolve the outstanding issues between our two countries," said Nirupama Rao.

"We have a number of outstanding issues. So, we are going into this with an open mind and constructive attitude," Rao said.

Noting that her Pakistani counterpart would also have a "number of ideas" to discuss, Rao said, "so, this is going to be exploratory discussion and we hope that through this process, we can find a way forward."
When asked about the provocative statement given by Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit questioning the pace of probe into Samjhauta Express blast, Rao said India has already made it clear that probe details would be shared with Pakistan if there is anything to share.

"We have already said an investigation is going on in Samjhauta blast. It was an act of terrorism, there is no doubt about it," she said about the February 2007 incident in which 68 passengers, including Pakistanis, were killed when an explosion took place at Panipat in Haryana when the cross-border train was on its way to Pakistan.

To a question, she emphasised that India will share with Pakistan if there is any evidence to share and when "we are ready to share evidence."
Bashir refused to comment when asked about the Samjhauta issue in the backdrop of the statement issued by the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman. "Why do you want to pick up one issue? There are a plenty of issues," he responded.

India has already rubbished Basit`s contention that the pace of investigation into Samjhauta Express blast was slow and said the case could not be compared to Mumbai attacks in terms of gravity and evidence available.

New Delhi points out that in the Mumbai attack case, the leads were very clear despite which Pakistan has failed to act satisfactorily.