PM, Zardari to meet in Russia

Government sticks to concrete actions for resumption of dialogue

PM, Zardari to meet in Russia

Singh and Zardari will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on Tuesday. Both India and Pakistan are observers in the grouping that comprises China, Russia and four other Central Asian nations.

“They (Singh and Zardari) will be in the same room, same place and same time. I am sure they will be meeting, but what sort of meeting that will be is very difficult to say now because of the constraint of time,” Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told the media on Friday.

Menon was replying to a query if Singh and Zardari could have a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SCO.

He said New Delhi had not received any formal offer from Islamabad for a bilateral meeting between the two leaders in Yekaterinburg. “They will meet, shake hands, but more than that it is hard to predict at this stage,” he added.

The prime minister will reach the Russian city on Monday evening, and he is expected to return to New Delhi on Wednesday, after attending the SCO and Brazil-Russia-India-China summits on Tuesday.

Though the bilateral meet has not yet been confirmed, it now seems certain that the SCO summit is going to be an occasion when Singh and Zardari will at least shake hands.
The opportunity comes close on the heels of hints from the US that it wants the two nuclear neighbours to end the post 26/11 diplomatic chill and resume the composite dialogue.

India and Pakistan had started the peace-process in February 2004, but New Delhi suspended it in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

The visiting US Under Secretary of State William J Burns said here on Thursday that Washington wanted India and Pakistan to resume dialogue, but added it was for New Delhi and Islamabad to decide the “pace, scope and character of that dialogue”.
Despite the nudge from the US, New Delhi stuck to its stand that it would resume the peace process with Islamabad if the latter took credible action to bring the perpetrators of 26/11 to justice, besides dismantling the terrorist facilities in Pakistan.

DH News Service

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