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India, Pak foreign secretaries to 'stay in touch'
Ajay Kaul in Dhaka | August 01, 2006 01:19 IST
In the first high-level contact between India and Pakistan since the Mumbai blasts, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran met his counterpart Riyaz Mohammad Khan late Monday night and later said the bilateral peace process should continue.
Emerging from the nearly 90-minute meeting, Saran, appearing at a joint media briefing with Khan, said the two countries have decided to remain engaged.
"We have decided to remain in touch", he said, when asked if any date has been fixed for the resumption of the composite dialogue, which had been postponed after the Mumbai blasts of July 11.
Saran said he had raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in the meeting with Khan. He said all aspects of bilateral relations were discussed at the meeting.
This was the first engagement between the two countries since the postponement of the foreign secretary-level talks, which were initially expected to be held in Delhi on July 20. India had postponed the talks as it suspected a Pakistani hand in the Mumbai blasts.
In the runup to the bilateral meeting with Khan, Saran told a meeting of SAARC foreign secretaries that 'urgent active cooperation' among countries of the grouping, including Pakistan, was needed to eliminate terrorism from the region.
Citing the July 11 deadly blasts in Mumbai and Srinagar, Saran said India was committed to the peace process with Pakistan but made clear that it can proceed in an atmosphere that is free from terror and violence.
"We expressed our concerns with respect to the issue of terrorism," Saran told reporters after the informal meeting held on the sideline of the SAARC foreign secretaries' conference here. "We hope these concerns will be properly addressed."
Asked whether India has given evidence about Pakistani links in Mumbai blasts, Saran said, "We agreed that whatever information is available with either side will be shared."
On Pakistan's response, he said Khan had told him that Islamabad was 'doing all that it can with regard to control of these elements'.