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Possible outcomes of Indo-Pak talks at SAARC summit

world Updated: Apr 28, 2010 19:15 IST

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The Prime Ministers of nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan will hold talks on Thursday, the two sides said, their first meeting in nine months that is seen as another effort at improving frayed ties.

India broke off a peace process with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, saying the process could be revived only if Islamabad acted against Pakistan-based militants it blamed for the killings.

Following is a summary of the likely outcomes from the talks.

Fail to resolve differences on way forward

It is an overwhelming likelihood that there will be no breakthrough in the talks. The two sides have not been able to resolve differences over the nature of future talks. Pakistan wants India to restart the peace process, while India wants to go slow until Islamabad acts against the Mumbai attack planners.

Given the domestic political pressure in both countries and their well-entrenched position on talks, no side will want to be seen as giving away too much. If they fail to set out a roadmap for future engagements it could be bad news for the United States, which sees peace between the two countries as vital for its efforts to stabilise Afghanistan.

Set stage for focused discussions

The two leaders could use the meeting to lend an impetus to a more detailed dialogue at lower official levels. Such a move, even without achieving any significant result, could be helpful in preventing further deterioration in ties. Their top diplomats met in February but could not achieve a breakthrough. The meeting could decide on when these diplomats could meet again.

Settle into familiar pattern of talks for talks

As in the past, the meeting could end in just an anodyne decision to keep talking. The much-hyped February talks between the top diplomats of India and Pakistan, their first official engagement since the Mumbai attacks, ended with only an agreement to "keep in touch", signalling relations remained frosty. They did not say when they would meet next.