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Foreign Secretaries of India, Pak to meet tomorrow

world Updated: Feb 06, 2011 00:03 IST

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Making a fresh attempt to restart the bilateral dialogue process, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir will meet 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 Sunday'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.