Progress made at talks in Thimphu

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan met here on Sunday night in a fresh attempt to put their stalled dialogue process back on track and try to bridge the trust deficit plaguing the relationship.

The 90-minute talks were later described by MEA spokesman Vishnu Prakash, a member of the Indian delegation, as “useful and frank discussions”. Sources said the two sides “made good progress on charting the way forward”, and agreed on the need to continue a “constructive dialogue” on “all outstanding issues”.
The meeting, on the sidelines of a Saarc conference, comes six months after talks between the two foreign ministers collapsed in Pakistan. A day before the meeting, India and Pakistan exchanged barbs over the issue of the Samjhauta blasts and the Mumbai terror attacks, but the two foreign secretaries chose to set a positive tone ahead of their talks. Both Ms Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir had said separately that they would endeavour to find a way forward for continued engagement between the two countries. “We are resuming our contact after interregnum of some time. We have a number of issues to be discussed. As we have always said, dialogue between India and Pakistan is necessary and a must if we are to satisfactorily resolve the outstanding issues between our two countries,” she had said. “We have a number of outstanding issues. So we are going into this with an open mind and constructive attitude,” Ms Rao said.
The Indian delegation that went into the talks included Mr Y.K. Sinha, joint secre- tary (Pakistan) in the ministry of external affairs, high commisioner to Pakistan Sarat Sabharwal and joint secretary (external publicity) Vishnu Prakash. From the Pakistani side the representatives included high commissioner to India Shahid Malik. —PTI

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