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Movement forward in engagement with Pak hinges on peace at LoC

Movement forward in engagement with Pak hinges on peace at LoC

New Delhi: Ahead of a meeting between External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz here next week, India Wednesday made it clear that any moving ahead in a bilateral engagement with Pakistan will depend on peace and tranquility on the LoC.

Noting that the issues to figure in the meeting between Khurshid and the Pakistan Prime Minister's Foreign Adviser Aziz were "self-evident", Spokesperson in the MEA said they flow from the meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries in New York in September.

"One outcome (from the Prime Ministers meeting) was the precondition for moving ahead in our bilateral engagement which depends on peace and tranquility on the Line of Control.

"So, they (Foreign Ministers) will asses where they have moved on since then. Does it require anything further? And that will be basically the basis for further discussion," he said.

Aziz is travelling to India to attend the ASEM (Asia- Europe) Foreign Ministers meet in Gurgaon, a suburb of the national capital, and he will hold a bilateral meeting with Khurshid on the sidelines of the event.

However, the Spokesperson also noted that the bilateral meetings on the margins of multi-laterals are normally very "limited" in nature.

He also confirmed that Aziz has sought an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. However, he added no decision has been taken so far on such a call-on.

India is expected to convey its concerns over the series of ceasefire violations by Pakistan army during the meeting with Aziz. The Prime Minister has already expressed his "disappointment" with Nawaz Sharif with whom he had a meeting in New York and agreed that peace and tranquillity should be maintained on LoC as well as the International Border.

Singh's remarks came in the backdrop of heavy firing by Pakistani troops not only along the LoC but also along the IB and the loss of lives of BSF personnel in the past few months and continued ceasefire violations even after the New York meeting.

On the issues to figure between Khurshid and his Bangladeshi counterpart during a bilateral, the Spokesperson said Land Boundary Agreement is expected to figure and asserted that the government was committed to bringing a bill in this regard in the next session of Parliament.

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