India cautiously optimistic on talks with Pak: Rao

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Ajay Kaul

Thimphu, Feb 7 (PTI) India is "cautiously optimistic"on charting a way forward in the dialogue process withPakistan and would like to see the process to mature keepingin view ground realities, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao saidtoday.

"We had a good meeting, useful meeting. We were ableto discuss a number of issues of relevance with the (Indo-Pak)relationship," Rao told reporters here, a day after meetingher Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir.

She said her discussions with Bashir were notdominated by any one issue.

"We talked about the (dialogue) process and chartingthe way forward, what the best modalities would be," she said.

"All in all it was a useful meeting," Rao said, addingthat both the sides had adopted an open and "constructiveattitude." "I''m satisfied."

Asked about the next step, she said, "we need to waitand see."

"We have to wait for this process to mature. We shouldbe optimistic, cautiously optimistic because there are manyissues that remain to be resolved," she said.

Pointing out that the nature of India-Pakistanrelationship had been complex, Rao said, "we have to remainrealistic. We should be aware of the realities."

She emphasized the need for a "vision" for the futureof the relationship and noted that this was the feeling ofPrime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Bashir, she said, had told her that his governmentalso was committed to taking forward the dialogue process onoutstanding issues in a constructive way.

Rao and Bashir had met for about 90 minutes last nightand agreed that positive and cordial relations were in mutualinterest of both the countries and they needed to work in thisdirection.

Later, a common press statement was issued by bothsides which said that the two Foreign Secretaries had met inpursuance of the mandate given by their Prime Ministersfollowing their meeting in Thimphu in April, 2010 and themeeting of the Foreign Ministers in July last year inIslamabad and carry that process forward.

The two sides had agreed on the need for aconstructive dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues. PTIAKK ZH VMN

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