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Talks to focus on infiltration, terror and CBMs

The foreign secretary-level talks, the first formal engagement since a new Govt in Pakistan took charge, will also take up new cross-border confidence-building steps.

world Updated: May 20, 2008 11:40 IST
Manish Chand
Manish Chand

Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon arrived in Islamabad on Monday night to review the fourth round of composite dialogue with his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir and discuss issues like Kashmir, peace and security and cross-border terrorism.

He was received warmly at the Islamabad international airport by Mohammad Sadiq, spokesperson of the Pakistan foreign ministry.

Apart from reviewing the fourth round of composite dialogue that ended late last year, Menon will also raise the issue of cross-border terrorism with Bashir, an issue that has acquired added importance after the serial blasts in the Indian tourist town of Jaipur recently.

The foreign secretary-level talks, the first formal engagement between the two countries since a new government took charge in Islamabad nearly two months ago, will take place in the premises of the Pakistan foreign ministry.

The talks will focus on launching a set of cross-border new confidence-building measures (CBMs) that include the Kargil-Skardu and Jammu-Sialkot bus services, as well as an increase in the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and the Poonch-Rawalkot bus services.

India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will arrive in Pakistan Tuesday afternoon for talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi the next day.

Mukherjee will discuss an entire array of bilateral issues, including terrorism and cross-border CBMs, with Qureshi.

He will also meet Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, that leads the ruling coalition, Pakistan Muslim League(N) leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan Tuesday.

He will call on President Pervez Musharraf and hold talks with Qureshi Wednesday before heading back to New Delhi Thursday.