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Manmohan, Zardari to meet in Russia

PM Manmohan Singh will meet Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari during a multilateral summit in Russia on June 16. This is the first top-level contact between India and Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attacks.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2009 19:42 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari during a multilateral summit in Russia on June 16 in the first top-level contact between India and Pakistan after the Mumbai terror attacks.

"They will be at the same place at the same time....They will meet, they will shake hands," Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters while briefing them on Singh's visit to Russia.

Menon, however, said there will be no structured meeting between the two leaders.

Asked what Singh and Zardari will discuss, he said "I don't want to guess what they will discuss."

Singh will be travelling to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg on June 15 for a three-day visit during which he will attend the SCO meet and Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) Summit while Zardari will also be in the Russian city for the SCO Summit as Pakistan, like India, is an observer in the grouping.

India has suspended dialogue with Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks which were carried out by terrorists based in
that country.

On resumption of dialogue with Pakistan, Menon said: "I think we have also said that we would like to, but it is necessary that before that we see certain steps being taken and that we need is an atmosphere in which the dialogue can actually take place and for that we made quite clear what we think is necessary."

In this context, he made a reference to Singh's statement in Parliament earlier this week where he had said that India would meet the Pakistani leadership "more than half the way on the road to peace" if action is taken by Islamabad against terrorism.

"There can be no more authoritative statement than what the prime minister said," Menon said.

On Indo-Pak contact, he said "we are in constant touch with each other--that is India and Pakistan. We have High Commissioners there and here. We have established channels of communicating with each other".

"I am sure we both watch each other's statements carefully. In the last few days, you had a series of public authoritative statements from the Government of India, from the leadership at the highest level. We have seen Pakistani statements as well," said Menon.