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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gilani-Manmohan meeting hijack importance of SAARC summit

THIMPHU, : The focus of the SAARC summit has once again been shifted to the expected meeting between the Indian and the Pakistani prime ministers, though delegates say the South Asian nations have come together on a number of agreements including the one on services in the trade sector in the entire region as well as one on environment and climate changes, which are expected to be signed during the summit.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is due to land in Thimpu on Wednesday and an Indian channel said that his meeting with his Pakistan counterpart is very much on the cards.

It is likely to be a limited dialogue which will include terror, water and perhaps the structure for any kind of dialogue in the future.

Though the summit itself is of great significance and being hosted by the tiny Himalayan State for the first time, its whole attention has been hijacked by the meeting between Prime Ministers of two main nations in the organization, which have long history of tension ridden relationship. INP Correspondent in Thimphu said Indian, Pakistani and international media are all trying to get the timings and venue of the hyped meeting from Indian and Pakistani officials who are tight lipped.

Dr Manmohan Singh is facing a tense moment at home in the lower house of Parliament and diplomatic sources said it would be wrong to expect a breakthrough in the meeting between the two Prime Ministers. They said any softening of attitude by Manmohan Singh would be exploited by the BJP opposition party as was done after the Sharam el Sheikh summit.

Already fifty BJP MPs on Tuesday tabled a breach of privilege notice in Lok Sabha against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for announcing outside Parliament his decision to reject setting up of a joint parliamentary committee on the issue of alleged phone tapping.

There is also speculation about a meeting between Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishn. Krishna has indicated that perhaps there is going to be substantive engagement.

"There is possibility of talks on bilateral relations between the heads of governments. It all depends upon how whole thing works," Krishna had told earlier here.

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