Manmohan to visit Pak once bilateral ties improve | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Manmohan to visit Pak once bilateral ties improve

delhi Updated: Apr 20, 2012 08:40 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta

Before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh embarks on a possible one-day trip to Pakistan this Autumn, New Delhi will be looking for a credible positive development in bilateral ties with Pakistan on key outstanding issues, such as action against Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, cross-border trade and resolution of the Sir Creek boundary dispute.

Although India has taken note of Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani's statement, calling for resolution of Siachen (Saltoro ridge) dispute, the UPA government is not expecting huge positive leaps in bilateral ties with the trust deficit post-Kargil war still to be wiped out.

Instead, New Delhi is focusing on cross-border growth of people-to-people ties through a liberalised visa mechanism, and possible demarcation of Sir Creek in Rann of Kutch.

Top government sources said that even though President Asif Zardari's visit to India and the positive statement from Kayani were attempts to build an atmosphere of goodwill, India wants to watch the outcome of the talks at the home secretary, foreign secretary and foreign minister levels before finalising the date of Singh's visit to Islamabad.

"We need something substantive in bilateral ties to justify the PM's visit to Pakistan," said a senior government official.

New Delhi is currently trying to install a security mechanism, which would allow India to grant more visas and freedom of country-wide movement to Pakistani nationals, within the next six months.

It also plans to use technology as a means to allow Pakistani nationals free access to the country, without resorting to cumbersome red-tape procedures.

Besides this, the Centre wants Pakistan to help clamp down on the growing Indian currency rackets in India, most of which originate from the neighbouring country.