India, Pak try for fresh road map

The latest opportunity comes as the 65th United Nations General Assembly is scheduled to take place in New York later this month. Hence, speculation is rife that External Affairs Minister S M Krishna might have a pull-aside bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the conclave.

With Islamabad showing some signs of making moves towards expediting the trial of the seven 26/11 accused, New Delhi is understood to be open to go for the next round of parleys.

According to the sources, India’s response would depend on the “genuineness” of Pakistan’s latest initiatives and its “seriousness” to bring to justice the plotters of the Mumbai attacks.

Officials in New Delhi are yet to confirm the meeting between Krishna and Qureshi in New York, but sources said that they might have “a pull-aside chat” or meet briefly and External Affairs Minister might renew the invitation to his Pakistani counterpart to visit India.

Both Krishna and Qureshi are also likely to attend the upcoming SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Foreign Ministers’ meeting in New York.
Sources told Deccan Herald that Indian and Pakistani diplomats were in touch to fix a date for Qureshi’s visit and discussions were also on to explore the possible deliverables. The commerce secretaries of the two countries might also meet to discuss trade issues.
After the much-awaited foreign minister-level talks in Islamabad made no headway, Qureshi had told journalists that he would not travel to New Delhi for ‘leisure trip’, obviously implying that he had little interest to accept Krishna’s invitation unless India ensures that the next round of talks would yield some results.

New Delhi is studying Pakistan’s offer to set up a commission and send it to India to record the statements of the Indian witnesses in connection to the 26/11 case and thus to expedite the trial of the seven Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi.

This offer, conveyed to Home Minister P Chidambaram by his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik, along with India’s offer of $25 million to Pakistan as flood aid, telephone calls from Krishna to Qureshi and Singh to Gilani to offer condolences for the deaths due to the natural disaster, Islamabad’s move to release 442 Indian fishermen from the jails in Pakistan and New Delhi’s reciprocal gestures are believed to have laid the ground for a fresh round of foreign minister level engagements.

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