As foreign secretaries meet, India looking at talks in a positive, constructive manner

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Islamabad, June 24 (ANI): Foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan - Nirupama Rao and Salman Bashir-have begun their much anticipated meeting here, even as Indian officials have told ANI that New Delhi is "looking at these talks in a positive and constructive manner."

The renewed engagement between Islamabad and New Delhi is being approached in a pragmatic manner, and officials of the two countries are being both cautious and careful about not raising hopes of an expected breakthrough almost 19 months after the 26/11terror attack on Mumbai.

Both sides have so far refused to confirm whether there will be a joint press conference after the talks.

Earlier this week, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said New Delhi would be interacting with Pakistani officials in an exploratory manner rather than an accusatory tone.

Islamabad is viewing this as a positive step for taking the bilateral talks process forward. The two sides are expected to discuss the modalities and issues for the July 15 talks between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan - S.M. Krishna and Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Home Secretary G.K. Pillai arrived in Islamabad yesterday by a special flight.

The special aircraft landed at the Chaklala Air Force base instead of the commercial Benazir Bhutto International Airport.

Apart from meeting Pakistan Foreign Secretary Bashir, Rao will also call on Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Meanwhile Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai will meet his Pakistani counterpart Qamar Zaman Chaudhry and call on Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

The Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Rajiv Mathur, is to meet with his Pakistani counterpart as part of the SAARC Home Ministers' conference.

The agenda of these meetings is still not clear, as the nature of the talks is probably sensitive in nature.

The conjecture is that some sort of cooperation between Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) is on the agenda.

Track-II channels have been proposing this kind of an interaction, which could prove to be a first step in intelligence cooperation between two nuclear rivals.

But a formal relationship between these two agencies is "still not on the cards" said a source. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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