Singh, Gilani Port-of-Spain date unlikely

Singh, Gilani Port-of-Spain date unlikely

Manmohan Singh

Though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the CHOGM on November 27 and 29, his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani is unlikely to go to the capital of Trinidad and Tobago for the 53-nation-bloc’s summit. Gilani apparently dropped his plan to attend the summit due to the current fluid political situation in Pakistan, particularly after his government failed to put the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance to vote in the National Assembly.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will attend the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ meet ahead of the CHOGM. So will Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. But a meeting between the two is yet to be scheduled.

Sources said New Delhi had not yet received any feeler from Islamabad seeking a meeting between Krishna and Qureshi in Port-of-Spain. Speculation was rife in the diplomatic circles in both India and Pakistan that the CHOGM 2009 might once again provide an opportunity for a bilateral meet between Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers and both could explore ways to soothe the strained relations between the neighbours in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26 last year. Diplomatic sources in New Delhi said Islamabad had not shown interest in having a bilateral meet between Krishna and Qureshi in Port of Spain, because it had realised that India would not let the Foreign Minister level talks pave the way for resumption of Composite Dialogue (CD) unless it initiated actions against terrorist outfits in its territory.

India had suspended the CD with Pakistan in the wake of the 26/11 attacks. New Delhi still maintains that the CD can be resumed only after Islamabad curbs anti-India terrorist outfits operation in Pakistan and dismantles all terrorist infrastructures in its territory.

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