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India-Pakistan foreign minister-level talks deferred

June 26, 2012 - New Delhi

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's visit to Pakistan, which was planned for July, is now expected to take place in August since the dates were clashing with the presidential election here.

"It just happened that while we were working on the date where we had indicated a possibility of that date being suitable to us, other developments have intervened since then because when the date was being mentioned, there was no reference to an election for the President and with a specific date of polling on that date. Since that has become the date on which the polling for the President is involved, and the External Affairs Minister of India is part of the electoral college for an important election in India, obviously we seek to reschedule these dates," said MEA official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.

"And this rescheduling again has issues in terms of what is suitable to us and what is suitable to the authorities in Pakistan. We are trying to work out dates because as you know, after 22nd of July Parliament is in session. And you are aware of the sensitivities and sensibilities of External Affairs Minister himself of traveling outside India during Parliament being in session. With that in mind he has mentioned that we are looking at dates sometime in August at the earliest on this," he added.

Akbaruddin, however, said the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan are due to meet next month on improvement of bilateral ties.

"Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet in New Delhi on July 4th and 5th to discuss peace and security including CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir, and promotion of friendly exchanges," said Akbaruddin.

Talks between the foreign secretaries of the two neighbouring nations becomes special in the event of arrest of key Mumbai terror attack suspect and Indian Mujahideen terrorist Abu Jundal, as the Indian side is expected to increase on their Pakistani counterparts for extradition of other accused militants hiding in the latter's country.

Jundal was arrested on his arrival from Saudi Arabia at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport by Delhi Police on June 21. He is currently in the custody of Special Cell till July 5.


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