PMO denies media report that PM established back-channel talks

New Delhi, Apr 24: The Prime Minister''s Office today termed as ''false'' a media report that Manmohan Singh had initiated a back channel exercise for talks between an "unofficial" Indian envoy and Pakistan'' Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani 10 months ago.

"We have seen media reports quoting a British newspaper saying that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh contacted Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani before the Mohali meeting between the two Prime Ministers. The report is false," PM''s Media Adviser Harish Khare said in a statement.

London-based ''The Times'' had yesterday reported that Singh had appointed an "unofficial envoy" to make contact with Kayani, who exercises de facto control over Pakistan''s foreign policy.

The talks, through a back channel, have encouraged the UK and US believe that the countries'' competition for influence in Afghanistan could be better managed during efforts to start a peace process, the media report had said.

The visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the semi-final match between India and Pakistan in the cricket World Cup last month has sparked hopes of a diplomatic thaw between the two neighbouring countries.


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