Rao, Bashir meet in Thimphu today

Six months after failure of talks, India and Pakistan will make a fresh attempt to “unlock” the bilateral dialogue process when foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and her counterpart Salman Bashir meet here on Sunday during which the Indian side is expected to seek an update on 26/11 probe and trial.
On the eve of the talks, Pakistan sought to link the Samjhauta Express blast case to the Mumbai attack trial but this was promptly rejected by India.
Pakistan said India “needs to bridge the gap between what it says and what it does” juxtaposing New Delhi’s slow handling of the 2007 Samjhauta blast case with its insistence on a quick trial for the Mumbai attack accused.
India hit back, saying the two cases were not comparable, and there were clear leads in the Mumbai incident unlike in the cross-border train attack case.
India is going for the “exploratory” talks with “cautious optimism” and “reasonable expectations” and expressed its willingness to discuss all outstanding issues with Pakistan, but by a step-by-step approach.
Ms Rao and Mr Bashir, who are here for the Saarc meeting of foreign secretaries and council of ministers, are expected to discuss the problem of terrorism that is plaguing the relationship, besides some confidence-building initiatives concerning fishermen, people-to-people contacts and trade and commerce.
This will be the first meeting between the foreign secretaries since the last one in Pakistan in July 2010 which ended in a failure.

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