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No breakthroughs expected from Musharraf visit

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | April 14, 2005 18:34 IST
Last Updated: April 14, 2005 22:04 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf will have an unstructured dialogue when the latter arrives in New Delhi on April 16 to watch the last match in the ongoing India-Pakistan cricket series.

A senior Pakistan high commission official talking exclusively to said no major breakthroughs are expected from the discussions, but both countries will strengthen their commitment to confidence building measures they have agreed to and some of which have already been implemented.

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One of the important outcomes could be a reduction of troops in Jammu and Kashmir if the talks between Dr Singh and Musharraf move smoothly on April 16 and 17. More CBMs in the form of a few more bus and train routes are also expected.

National Security Advisor M K Narayanan was quoted in an interview saying that 'on the table, Pakistan has produced very few proposals on Kashmir. We remain unsure what the Generalsaheb wants.'

Narayanan, the most important figure emerging in talks with Pakistan and other important countries like China, said: 'The Pakistan president has not come out openly to suggest A,B,C. He keeps talking in broad terms of the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Does he know what the people of Jammu and Kashmir want?'

While talking to journalists on April 12 at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Dr Singh had clarified in unambiguous terms the status of Musharraf's visit. 'It is not a State visit. It is an informal visit,' he had said and added, 'We want any South Asian leader to travel informally and meet to discuss common issues.'

On the possibility of reduction troops in Kashmir, just a few days ago, Dr Singh had said 'nothing is ruled out, but there are pre-requisites.'

Many believe that India is underplaying Musharraf's diplomatic aspirations by overplaying the cricket match he will be watching in Delhi.

The general will watch the final India-Pakistan ODI at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground in the company of Dr Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the Opposition Lal Kishenchand Advani and Congress member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi.

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may also join them.

The Pakistan high commission official said Musharraf will start his visit with a pilgrimage to the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer.

Musharraf is scheduled to address senior editors on April 17. This event, however, has not yet been finalised.

Comparing Musharraf's visit to his last trip to India, the Pakistan high commission official said: "Agra was different because President Musharraf was invited by India. This time he is coming to watch cricket."

From Rediff Archives: Agra Summit 2001

Indo-Pak Peace Talks: The Complete Coverage

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Number of User Comments: 1

Sub: Evidently.

It is much ado about nothing. General is interested in nothing except "let us talk about Kashmir". Sardarji and his natvars-fatvars are simply wasting their ...

Posted by chanakya


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