In the backdrop of a "shrinking" trust deficit, India and Pakistan on Wednesday discussed the key issue of terrorism, which has dogged bilateral ties for years, with New Delhi asking Islamabad not to allow terrorism from its soil and seeking a speedy trial in the 26/11 case.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna met his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar for about 30 minutes at the convention centre in Gan, one of the islands in Maldives.
"Terror was the main stress of the meeting. Krishna told Pakistan that it should not allow its soil to be used for terror. To which Khar assured that her country will not allow its soil to be used for such acts," an official privy to the meeting told PTI.
The official said, "India also raised the issue of the 26/11 trial in Pakistan and the Pakistani judicial commission's visit to India in connection with the Mumbai attack case."
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Krishna said, "Terrorism continues to be the focal point of India's dialogue process with Pakistan. So when we discuss bilateral issues, we certainly factor terror and its various ramifications".
He was responding to a query on whether the issue of terror was raised by him during the meet.
Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said such meetings add to the "feel good factor".
"More contacts, more meetings are forward looking. We did discuss the meeting at summit level tomorrow," he said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani on Thursday.
Significantly, Krishna and Khar met thrice today -- once over coffee and the second time over lunch on the sidelines of the SAARC ministerial meeting.
Earlier, Krishna had said the trust deficit with Pakistan was "shrinking", which was acknowledged by Khar also.
Positive signs have been witnessed in bilateral ties lately, including Pakistan's decision to grant the Most Favoured Nation trade status to India.
Krishna also welcomed Pakistan's decision to normalise its trade ties with India, and looked forward to full implementation of SAFTA obligations by all SAARC member states to enhance intra-regional trade.
Khar told a private Indian channel that while the two sides have many miles to move ahead, the recent improvement in environment was a welcome sign.
"I think we can certainly say from our side that we look at this environment as having been improved considerably and the trust deficit that typically exists between the two countries and has existed for many years, to have been reduced to a large order," she said.
On the bilateral talks between the two sides, she said she expected them to further improve the "positive environment" that has existed between the two countries.