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India, Pakistan downplay Khar's Hurriyat meeting

Last updated on: July 27, 2011 18:37 IST

India, Pakistan downplay Khar's Hurriyat meeting

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Carrying forward their engagement process, India and Pakistan on Wednesday announced new Confidence Building Measures, notwithstanding the unhappiness in New Delhi about Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar's meeting with Kashmiri separatist leaders.

The CBMs include increasing cross-LoC trading days and expanding travel to include tourism and religious aspects, apart from relaxing permit conditions for travel by people of Jammu and Kashmir to the other side of LoC by having a system of six-month multiple entry.


Image: Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) shakes hands with Indian counterpart SM Krishna before their meeting in New Delhi
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
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The CBMs were announced after the discussion between External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Khar, during which both sides expressed the intent to move forward and forge a "cooperative" relationship, although they stuck to their known positions on key issues such as Kashmir and terror.

Replying to a query on the Indo-Pak position on Kashmir and Khar's meeting with Hurriyat leaders on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, at a joint press conference with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir, said, "Neither of us underestimate the difficulties involved. There are divergences and that divergence was illustrated on Tuesday by the meetings you referred to".


Image: Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir
Photographs: Reuters
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"We have a very different point of view from Pakistan on that particular event and we have expressed our concerns in a frank and candid manner to the Pakistani side on this", Rao said.

Downplaying the Khar-Hurriyat meeting, Bashir said "too much should not be read" into the meeting.

Khar has said, "The meeting on Tuesday cannot be construed in any manner, either intentionally or by design, to cast any shadow on today's talks. It is to the contrary," Bashir said.

Khar, within hours of her arrival, had met both the factions of Hurriyat Conference -- one led by hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the other by moderate leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq -- at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.


Image: Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at the Delhi airport
Photographs: Reuters
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