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PM discusses Asian security scenario with Jiabao

world Updated: Sep 25, 2008 02:09 IST
Varghese K George
Varghese K George
Hindustan Times
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Shivshankar Menon and Salman Bashir, foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan respectively, met for a "preparatory talk" before the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Zardari on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Singh and Zardari are scheduled to meet at local time 2 pm (past midnight Indian Standard Time).

India has identified cross border terror and ceasefire violations from Pakistan side as the two primary issues on the table. With the possibility of Pakistan connection emerging yet again in terror attacks in India after the arrest of five Indian Mujahideen activists in Mumbai, the meeting between the two leaders is significant.

Menon made light of his meeting with Bashir saying, "I have known him for so many years. We just met."

At the meeting between Indian PM and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, Pakistan also figured in the context of the Asian security scenario.

Asked whether terrorism or Pakistan was among the topics of discussion between India and China, Menon said "not directly."

"Terrorism is part of the general agenda of discussion between India and China," Menon said.

India has made it clear that Pakistan itself facing terrorism does not negate the fact that elements of the Pakistan establishment are targeting India – the latest example being the blast at the Indian mission in Kabul.

At the same time, India's approach towards President Zardari will be more nuanced given the limitations that the Pakistani President faces in the newly acquired position.

"We hope he realises it is in his self-interest to contain terrorism," an Indian source said.

"We shall discuss ways to deal with the common challenge of tackling terrorism," PM Manmohan Singh said before landing in New York.

"It's an enormous challenge," he said.