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Balochistan, Kashmir on Pak's agenda for talks

February 25, 2010 12:18 IST

Barely minutes before the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan met for crucial and significant day-long talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said both Balochistan and Kashmir will be on the agenda for Thursday's talks.

Bashir made these remarks shortly before leaving his hotel for Hyderabad House. Bashir is leading a four-member delegation in the talks to be held with Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.

He said he had come to New Delhi with the hope of taking talks with India on key bilateral issues, including Kashmir and Balochistan, forward.

While the Indian side is expected to focus on the issue of terrorism, and what Pakistan is doing to stop such activities on its soil, the Pakistan side has said it will be putting all issues of bilateral importance on the table, and expects New Delhi to respond positively.

However, a joint statement is unlikely to be issued. Rao and Bashir will, however,  address separate press conferences today afternoon, after the talks conclude.

During his stay, Bashir is also scheduled to call on External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon.

Earlier, speaking in Beijing, on Wednesday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi termed the February 25 foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan as an ''exploratory'' meeting and insisted that Islamabad wants a meaningful dialogue with New Delhi.

Qureshi also recalled that India, through a joint communique, had agreed that acts of terrorism would not impede the process of dialogue between both nations.

Qureshi said the ball is now India's court, and the outcome of the talks would largely depend on New Delhi's response and approach to various issues.

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