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India ready to host Pakistan's foreign minister in July

India today conveyed to Pakistan that it was looking forward to hosting minister of state for foreign affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, who is expected to be made foreign minister, for crucial talks in New Delhi next month.

world Updated: Jun 24, 2011 19:05 IST

India on Friday conveyed to Pakistan that it was looking forward to hosting minister of state for foreign affairs Hina Rabbani , who is expected to be made foreign minister, for crucial talks in New Delhi next month.

This was conveyed by foreign secretary Nirupama Rao when she called on Khar in the Pakistani capital.

Rao conveyed to Khar the greetings of external affairs minister SM Krishna and "reiterated that the government of India looks forward to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs' visit to New Delhi next month", Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua said.

Khar underlined "the importance that Pakistan attaches to the ongoing dialogue process and to the improvement of Pakistan-India relations", Januja quoted her as saying. She said Khar was looking forward "very much to her meetings in New Delhi".

Pakistan's high commissioner to India Shahid Malik affirmed that his country's foreign minister will be travelling to New Delhi next month to take forward the peace process that was resumed in February after a prolonged hiatus following the Mumbai terror attacks. "What we can deliver at this stage is that our foreign minister will be visiting New Delhi in July," he said.

Rao is in Islamabad for the two-day talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir that aim at setting the stage for the meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in New Delhi next month.

Khar is currently minister of state for foreign affairs, but leading Pakistani media outfits have speculated that the government has decided to elevate her to cabinet rank ahead of crucial foreign minister talks with India in July.

Ahead of the on-going foreign secretary level talks Thursday, Khar harped on the need for resolving the Kashmir issue.

"If Kashmir is not core concern, then what is core concern?" she said, adding that the two sides can meet if both agree that terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir are the core concerns.

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