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Pak withdraws opposition to India`s presence in Ankara talks

Pakistan has withdrawn its opposition to New Delhi`s participation in a preparatory conclave on the security and reconstruction of Afghanistan to be held in Ankara next month, a media report said.



Islamabad: In an apparent softening of its
attitude against India, Pakistan has withdrawn its
opposition to New Delhi`s participation in a preparatory
conclave on the security and reconstruction of Afghanistan to
be held in Ankara next month, a media report on Tuesday said.

"Senior officials within the administration have
advised the foreign ministry not to oppose India`s
participation in the conference," an official source was
quoted as saying by The Express Tribune newspaper.
Pakistan`s Foreign Ministry had earlier told Turkey
that Islamabad would not attend the conference if India was

"Our civilian establishment is gradually digesting the
idea of consulting India on regional issues," a high-ranking
source told the daily.
The Ankara conclave will chalk out a plan for the
International Conference of Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan
scheduled to be held in Bonn in December.

More than 1,000 delegates from 90 countries, including
Pakistan and India, have been invited to the conference.

Among those who will attend are Afghan President Hamid
Karzai, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the UN Secretary
General.

Foreign policy experts confirmed this change in the
government`s policy towards India.
"There is a visible change in Pakistan`s attitude
towards India on regional issues," said Simbal Khan, director
for Afghanistan and Central Asia at the Institute of Strategic
Studies.

"Our attitude is softening. If we can talk to India on
other issues with a regional approach, there should be no harm
in talking to it on the Afghan issue.

"We should keep in mind that India is the fifth
largest donor to Afghanistan," she said.

The conference will focus on three key areas: transfer
of security responsibility to the Afghan government by 2014,
further international commitment to Afghanistan after the
handover to Afghans, and the political process, including
national reconciliation and integration of the Taliban.

Pakistan has often accused India of using Afghanistan
as a base for "destabilising" its border regions, especially
Balochistan province and the tribal belt.

However, Khan said: "Karzai had addressed Pakistan`s
concerns over India`s role in Afghanistan. He removed top
officials of the Afghan spy agency who were considered to be
close to India."

PTI

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