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|August 31, 1998||
India, Pak begin talk process again
India and Pakistan made yet another attempt to work out proposals for the resumption of the stalled official talks when Foreign Secretary K Raghunath held extensive talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shamshad Ahmed in Durban, South Africa last night.
The two foreign secretaries held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral matters for more than an hour, a senior government official said.
The talks between the two sides were substantive as they focussed on measures to put the official level talks, suspended in January, back on the rails. They were held in the Royal Hotel, where Raghunath is staying. The official said Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaz Aziz is also expected to meet Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to exchange views on Indo-Pak bilateral relations, which have nosedived following nuclear tests by the two countries and firing on the borders.
Since Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief has cancelled his visit to South Africa, the meeting between K Raghunath and Ahmed has assumed significance.
The two held talks in Colombo during the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation summit, but could not produce any positive results due to Pakistan's demand that the Kashmir issue be discussed first before taking up confidence-building measures.
The two foreign secretaries are expected to meet again to give the required push to the process of initiation of dialogue between the two countries.
While the Indian side favoured a composite dialogue on all issues that the two governments identified for discussion last June, Pakistan insists on talks on Kashmir and peace and security in South Asia.
It appears that Pakistan is now willing to offer a calendar to discuss other important issues identified in June.
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