No dramatic outcome expected during Indo-Pak talks in Thimpu

It will be an attempt to "unlock" the process of normalisation of ties when Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Thimphu although no dramatic outcome is expected.

Last Updated: Jan 28, 2011, 21:02 PM IST

New Delhi: It will be an attempt to "unlock"
the process of normalisation of ties when Foreign Secretary
Nirupama Rao will meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir
in Thimphu although no dramatic outcome is expected.

Hoping that the meeting will provide "little more
clarity" on how to resolve the outstanding issues between the
two countries, officials here said both foreign secretaries
will be on "exploratory sort of mission" to plan for the
months ahead.
There has been "some communication" in past few weeks
as Rao and Bashir have spoken a couple of times on phone, they
said.

New Delhi`s orientation to talks is that the "two sides
should start with what you can do to begin with" such as
judicial committee on prisoners, outstanding consular issues-
visit and movement of people, trade-related issues, Sir Creek
and counter-terrorism issues, officials said, but did not
refer to Jammu and Kashmir, which Pakistan maintains is a
"core issue".

These issues can be and should be addressed between
the two sides, they said while noting that India would see the
reaction from the Pakistani side and see what they have to
say.

The visit of Pakistani Foreign Minister S M Qureshi
will also be on agenda of the meeting of the secretaries.

Officials also ruled out that Rao`s recent remarks of
terming terrorism emanating from Pakistan as "Frankenstein`s
monster" will have any negative impact on the talks as
terrorism remains a "matter of concern" for New Delhi.
New Delhi has also noted the recent remarks made by
former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri
supportive of the track-2 diplomacy on Kashmir and few other
issues. Kasuri has claimed that both Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani and ISI Director General Ahmed Shuja Pasha favoured
peace process with India.

"It was an interesting speech of what happened in past
few years between us. We are at a different stage of the
relationship. We have seen the reactions that came out in last
February, last June and July and of course before that there
was Mumbai and the complication due to that...," the
officials said.

It was not as if New Delhi has set aside what has
happened in the past but it does not know "how ready Pakistani
officials or establishment are to acknowledge all that was
discussed during President Pervez Musharraf`s time," they
said.

They were also quick to point out Kayani`s recent
remarks that the Pakistani army was "India-centric" and said
the army was part of the government and "we have no reason to
doubt that there will be inputs from defence and army" on Indo
-Pak relations.

India is engaging Pakistan to reactivate the meetings
which have not happened in a long time and in what form it
should take the dialogue forward, the officials said, adding
that New Delhi was "aware of the realities".

PTI