Manmohan Singh to meet Zardari in New York

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Frankfurt, Sep 23: Dr Manmohan Singh the Prime Minister of India, who is on his ten-day visit to the United States and France, will arrive in New York on Tuesday, Sep 23. The Prime Minister had an overnight halt at Frankfurt. During his visit, Dr Singh is likely to meet Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in New York on Wednesday, Sep 24.

"Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari could face some tough questions from the Indian PM with regard to the recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), as also on the issue of cross-border and (or) state-sponsored terrorism during their meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York," Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told reporters onboard Air India One.

Menon said that during the meeting, India would also take up issues like ceasefire violations, cross border terrorism and infiltration.

Wednesday's meeting will be the first between the two leaders since Zardari assumed the office of President, and since both countries suffered deadly bombings in their respective national capitals over the past two weeks.

Repeated ceasefire violations on the LoC, and Pakistan's blatant interference in India's internal affairs by threatening to take the Amarnath Shrine land transfer row issue in Jammu to the United Nations, has drawn New Delhi's ire, and as Menon had put it in July this year, put the ongoing peace process between the two countries 'under stress'.

The peace process between India and Pakistan began in 2004 and is currently now in its fifth round.

Zardari has tried to break the ice during his inaugural parliament speech, saying that both Pakistan and India need to creatively reinvent their existing relationship.

However, authoritative government sources said that they expect 'very little forward movement' from Pakistan on all issues, as Zardari possesses 'little power'.

Indian sources further claimed that multiple power centers are at play in Islamabad. They also see Pakistan's Army Chief Asfaq Parvez Kayani going the Musharraf way and letting the present political morass play itself out and go his way.

The sources also alleged that Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) continues to have a key role to play in acts of cross border terrorism and LoC infiltrations.

One source further said that New Delhi would engage with Zardari because he is the President.

The meeting between Prime Minister and President Zardari is being seen as crucial, as it could very well set the course for future Indo-Pak relations.


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