Indo-Pak FS meeting lays a ''solid foundation'', says Krishna

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Priyanka Tikoo

Thimphu, Feb 7 (PTI) India today said the meetingbetween Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries had laid a "solidfoundation" for sustained engagement aimed at building"bridges of trust and mutual confidence".

Arriving here to attend the 33rd meeting of SAARCCouncil of Ministers, External Affairs Minister S M Krishnadescribed yesterday''s meeting between Foreign SecretaryNirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir aspart of a process of engagement which is being taken forwardas per the direction of Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh andYousuf Raza Gilani.

"The genesis of all this was the Prime Ministers, whenthey met in Thimphu, they mandated the Foreign Ministers andForeign Secretaries to bridge the trust deficit between thetwo countries. So, all these meetings at the level of ForeignSecretaries and Foreign Ministers are going to achieve thatpurpose... building bridges of trust, mutual confidence,respect and all the other things," Krishna said.

Rao and Bashir met last night for about 90-minutes todiscuss ways to restore stalled dialogue process and to charta way forward. Both sides described talks as "constructive"and express optimism over the future of the bilateral ties.

Asked whether progress had been made at the meeting,Krishna said, "The very fact that the two Foreign Secretariesmet is certainly an indication that solid foundation has beenlaid for getting the two countries on the sustainedengagement." PTI PYK AKK ZH AKJ VMN

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