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Indo-Pakistan talks were 'cordial'
Onkar Singh in New Delhi
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Image: All set for Indo-Pak talks
Coverage: Indo-Pak peace process
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November 14, 2006 12:03 IST
Last Updated: November 14, 2006 19:15 IST

Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon met his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammad Khan on Tuesday at the majestic Hyderabad House, kick-starting the fourth round of the composite dialogue process in a bid to narrow down differences on a host of issues including terrorism.

The talks, which lasted about four hours, were held in a 'cordial atmosphere,' sources said, adding that a wide range of issues, including terrorism and Kashmir were discussed. The talks will resume on Wednesday.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said: "It was an expert round. There was a detailed discussion on Jammu and Kashmir [Images] issue and its resolution. Terrorism was also discussed."

Aslam, who is attending the parleys, said: "Discussions were held on confidence building measures and peace and security. Talks were also held issue of terrorism, which Pakistan and India are confronting."

She said talks were held in a cordial atmosphere and that the remaining issues like Siachen and Sir Creek will be discussed on Wednesday.

Menon and Riaz later called on External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The meeting lasted over half an hour.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said Mukherjee stressed on the need to fight terrorism jointly and also reviewed the talks between the foreign secretaries held earlier in the day in Hyderabad House.

The foreign minister also highlighted the achievements between the two countries including the role played by India in the rescue and reconstruction of houses devastated by the earthquake in October 2005.

The two sides also discussed conventional and non-conventional security issues, Sarna said while clarifying that the Siachen issue was not discussed on the opening day of the two day discussions.

The two sides are expected to give shape to the joint mechanism on terrorism, which was proposed at the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] at Havana on the sidelines of the NAM Summit in September.

The talks being held after a gap of nearly one year, will also review the progress on the three rounds of the composite dialogue process (CDP) held so far. Siachen and Sir Creek issues could also come up, although no concrete progress is expected.

The talks, which were to be held in July, were put on hold after the 7/11 Mumbai bomb blasts.

The Pakistan delegation comprises Additional Secretary (Asia Pacific) Akhtar Tufail, Additional Secretary (UN) Tariq Osman Hyder, Director-General (South Asia) Jalil Abbas Jilani, Director-General (UN) and spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, Director (India) Irfan Ahmad, Director (Kashmir Affairs), Mariam Aftab, Director (Foreign Secretary's Office) Moin-ul Haq and Assistant Director (India) Qamar Abbas.

With PTI inputs

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