Thimphu: Making a fresh attempt to restart
the bilateral dialogue process, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao
and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir will meet here
on Sunday during which the Indian side is expected to seek an
update on the Mumbai attacks investigations and trial.
Rao and Bashir, who are here for the SAARC meeting of
Foreign Secretaries and Council of Ministers, are expected to
take stock of the bilateral ties and discuss whether some
confidence-building initiatives could be taken.
This will be the first meeting between the Foreign
Secretaries after the failed talks between the Foreign
Ministers in July last year in Pakistan.
India, while keeping low the expectations from the
meeting, has made it clear that it was ready to have
discussions on all outstanding issues with Pakistan but
through a step-by-step approach.
The resumption of full-fledged dialogue, which was
stalled after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, would, however, depend
on the progress by Pakistan to punish all those behind the
26/11 strikes, sources said.
At tomorrow`s meeting, Rao is expected to seek an update
from Bashir on the investigations and trial in the Mumbai
attacks case in Pakistan.
She is also expected to seek a response from Bashir on
India`s request for voice samples of the persons in Pakistan
who were heard coordinating the 26/11 attacks.
Setting the tone for the meeting, Rao said yesterday in
Delhi, "We hope that both the governments come to satisfactory
conclusion about what is required so that the trial could be
satisfactorily concluded because justice has to be done."
She made the comments after meeting Home Minister P
Chidambaram during which they are understood to have discussed
issues related to the Mumbai attacks.
Noting that 26/11 trial in Pakistan was "one of the
issues under discussion between the two governments,
particularly between the Interior Ministry of Pakistan and our
Home Ministry," she said New Delhi and Islamabad have been in
correspondence about the exchange of evidence that is required
for the trial to go forward.
On her meeting with Bashir, she said India will see how
it can pick up the thread once again.
"We are going to meet after a certain interregnum, a few
months after last meeting. So, we will see how we can pick up
the thread once again. I am sure we will exchange ideas. Let`s
hope that we would be able to pick up convergence of views.
Every such meeting is an attempt to build greater
comprehension of each other`s position and deeper
understanding," the Foreign Secretary said.