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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

PM’s nod to meeting Sharif nothing to be hyped: official

Varghese K George, Hindustan Times  Frankfurt, September 25, 2013
First Published: 23:37 IST(25/9/2013) | Last Updated: 10:42 IST(26/9/2013)

“It is with enemies that we need to talk to and make peace with,” a senior Indian government official said hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confirmed that he would be meeting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York on the 29th.

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The official was responding to questions on why India was going ahead with talks with Pakistan despite its failure to address Indian concerns regarding terrorism and border issues.

In a statement before leaving for the US, the PM said, “During my visit to New York, I also look forward to bilateral meetings with the leaders of some of our neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.”

Asked what had changed since Singh’s statement earlier this year that it could not be “business as usual with Pakistan,” the official responded.

“A new government is in power in Pakistan. And there is a new prime minister,” he said.

The PM had made this statement following the beheading of an Indian solider on the border in January this year.

While the official acknowledged the positive statements from Sharif, he was quick to add that there is no scope for high hopes around the meeting between the prime ministers of both countries.

Pakistan PM’s advisor on foreign minister Sartaj Aziz had also recently warned against hype in the run up to the meeting of the prime ministers, indicating a common ground that the renewed efforts must be understated.

The official said the mutual invites to both the PMs are still alive but it is too early to talk about visits.

“Let the PMs talk. Both sides will take call on visits afterwards,” he said.

According to the official, terrorism, the situation on the LoC and issues related to trade and commerce will be on the agenda of the meeting.


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