Pakistan, India foreign secretaries to meet in Bhutan


Islamabad: The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet in Bhutan on the sidelines of the upcoming SAARC summit, officials said here Saturday.

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They are expected to discuss ways to take forward the stalled peace process between the two countries, the Online news agency reported quoting unnamed officials.

Pakistan has accepted a proposal from India for the foreign-secretary level talks, the report said.

The foreign ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries will meet in February in Bhutan. No dates have been fixed yet.

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told the media Friday that Pakistan is willing to engage in talks with India but an agenda should be chalked out first by the foreign secretaries of both countries.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said he will participate in the discussions only if it results in “substantial, meaningful and result-oriented talks”.

The upcoming meeting of Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will be the first since September last year, when they met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.

Pakistan has been insisting on a roadmap with India for future engagements on issues like Kashmir, military standoff on Siachen glacier and differences on sharing of river waters, the Online report said Saturday.

India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Friday invited Qureshi to New Delhi for talks. The two foreign ministers last met in Islamabad in July last year but their talks ended inconclusively.