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Buoyant mood prevails SAARC summit eve

A crucial meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation begins in Islamabad on Sunday in the midst of thaw in Indo-Pak relations.

world Updated: Jan 03, 2004 15:48 IST
Ritu
Ritu
PTI

A crucial meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) begins in Islamabad on Sunday in the midst of thaw in Indo-Pak relations and hopes of a new beginning in their bilateral ties.

The stage has been already set for a constructive engagement, with the foreign ministers of the seven-member regional grouping achieving a major breakthrough by agreeing to set up SAARC Free Trade Area, clearing hitches to an Additional Protocol to the Regional Convention on Suppression of terrorism and a path-breaking Social Charter.

The summit takes place two years after the last one in Kathmandu where Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf made a surprise handshake with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee seeking to break the ice of the Kargil conflict.

As media speculation mounted on the possibilities of his meetings with Pakistani leadership, a Vajpayee-Musharraf meeting, if it comes about, will be his third interface with the Pakistan President after Kathmandu and Agra.

First Published: Jan 03, 2004 15:48 IST