Krishna, Khar to hold talks Sep 8, visa pact uncertain
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar in Islamabad Sep 8, but it's not yet clear whether a visa pact will be signed during the visit.
Announcing the three-day visit by Krishna to Pakistan that begins Sep 7, Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of the external affairs ministry, said the talks between the two foreign ministers will be preceded by a meeting between the foreign secretaries of the countries.
Krishna will hold talks with Khar to review the second round of the dialogue process the two countries revived in February last year after a long hiatus following the 26/11 attacks.
The two ministers are expected to discuss all issues that impinge on bilateral relations, including terrorism and Kashmir.
Expediting 26/11 justice will top the agenda.
During his talk with Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Tehran, Manmohan Singh Thursday underlined that the expeditious conclusion of the Mumbai terror attack trial in that country will be a "major" confidence building measure in bilateral relations.
Manmohan Singh Friday he said was keen to visit Pakistan but only if the "proper atmosphere" was created by Islamabad by punishing the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage.
However, it is not yet clear whether a pact for liberalizing the visa regime which was sealed during home-secretary talks a couple of months ago will be signed during Krishna's visit.
"We are ready to sign it. At the time of home secretary-level talks, we were told (by the Pakistani side) that there were legal and other requirements," Akbaruddin said when asked whether the visa pact will be signed during the visit.
"We are still trying to work it out so that it can be signed at the earliest," he said.
In response to a question on fake SMS messages that allegedly emanated from Pakistan, triggering an exodus of people of northeastern states, the spokesperson said the external affairs ministry has yet to receive any evidence in this regard.
"The evidence is being collated by the concerned authorities. There will be inter-ministerial consultations before we decide on it," he said.