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PM-Musharraf talks bereft of 'colour'

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | April 17, 2005 21:00 IST
Last Updated: April 17, 2005 22:43 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] described the two-hour meeting he had with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] on Sunday as 'very positive, fruitful and forward looking'.

Even Musharraf told media persons from Pakistan: "Mahaul bahut achcha tha." [the talks were good]

So, what exactly figured in the talks?

A reliable source in the government said Pakistan did talk about Kashmir, but there was a shift in its approach to dialogues for the better.

"Previously Pakistan only talked about Kashmir and India talked about trade-related issues. Now, we find that both countries are balancing their talks and are talking about both Kashmir and economy."

The meeting was unstructured and all topics were taken up without hesitation.

According to sources, when both leaders met in the morning, Musharraf praised the PM for his sincerity and said he has high regards for Dr Singh.

In response, Dr Singh said he believes Musharraf is a man of courage.

A senior official in the prime minister's office told that Musharraf was not aggressive. The attitude of both the sides remained cordial and positive, the official said.

Government sources claimed the talks were positive because there was a desire to move forward on all issues.

Besides the rail link between Munnabao in Rajasthan and Khokrapar in Sind and trade-related issues, the two sides also discussed many matters of future concern, particularly those relating to Kashmir.

A senior government officer, who was present at the delegation-level meeting, said neither Musharraf nor Dr Singh adamantly struck to a single issue.

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran could not liven up his press conference because he had no surprises to offer. A senior journalist joked,
"Even after the big event, which lasted for two hours, both leaders have not given any path-breaking news to overshadow India's thrashing at the Kotla ground."

When asked why this meeting was bereft of 'colour', Sanjaya Baru, press advisor to the PMO, said, "There was no drama. There should not be any drama. When France [Images] and Germany [Images] meet there are no headlines. When the US and Canada [Images] meet they don't create drama. Let India and Pakistan meetings remain dull, boring and normal. If only it's normal it will be meaningful. Today's meeting was fruitful and meaningful."


Indo-Pak Peace Talks: The Complete Coverage

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