Pakistani, Indian prime ministers to meet in Bhutan

Pakistan and India's leaders agreed to hold direct talks at a regional summit that opened in Bhutan Wednesday.

Pakistani, Indian prime ministers to meet in Bhutan

Pakistan and India's leaders agreed to hold direct talks at a regional summit that opened in Bhutan Wednesday, even as a spy scandal clouded prospects of resuming a substantive peace dialogue.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani will hold a bilateral meeting Thursday evening on the sidelines of the two-day summit, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said.

He gave no indication as to how long the talks would last or what would be on the agenda.

The announcement came a day after New Delhi said a female diplomat working at the Indian embassy in Islamabad had been arrested on suspicion of passing secrets to Pakistani intelligence.

The spying scandal that erupted Tuesday involves a 53-year-old junior diplomat working in the information service of the Indian embassy in Islamabad.

The Press Trust of India said she had worked in the mission for nearly three years and is alleged to have passed on information from the Islamabad head of India's external intelligence service.

Speaking to reporters in Thimphu on Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said any meeting should address the need to resume a full-fledged peace dialogue.

"It's time for India to make up its mind whether it wants to engage or not... Engagement is the only way forward," he said.

"We need to go beyond a handshake," Qureshi said, referring to Singh and Gilani's exchange of pleasantries at a summit on nuclear security in Washington earlier this month.

The two prime ministers were in the Bhutanese capital to attend the 16th summit of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which groups Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

India broke off all dialogue with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, in which at least 166 people died and which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based fighters.

Qureshi said it was time for India to move forward and stop demonising Pakistan.


Agencies

Last Mod: 28 Nisan 2010, 15:42
Add Comment