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Dr Singh to meet Aziz on Nov 12

November 09, 2005 12:19 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will impress upon Pakistan the pressing need to check cross-border terrorism when he meets his counterpart Shaukat Aziz on the margins of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit in Dhaka on November 12, official sources said Wednesday.

The two leaders will also discuss the entire gamut of bilateral issues, including the progress in the composite dialogue process, during their meeting.

This will be the second meeting between Dr Singh and Aziz, both renowned economists who are credited with bringing a turnaround in the economies of their respective countries. They had last met in November 2004 when Mr Aziz visited New Delhi in his capacity as the outgoing chairman of SAARC.

Dr Singh will arrive in Dhaka on a three-day visit on November 11 at the head of a high-level delegation, including National Security Adviser M K Narayanan, by a special Air India flight.

Dr Singh will be staying at the five-star Sheraton Hotel during his three-day visit. Other heads of state and government will be staying at the same hotel, which has been declared out-of-bounds for the general public. Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed will arrive Thursday morning to represent India at the SAARC Council of Ministers' meeting to be held on November 10-11, which would be followed by the summit on November 12-13.

The inaugural ceremony of the summit will take place at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Centre, while the closing ceremony will be held at the International Conference Centre. The duration of the summit has been cut short by a day.

The traditional retreat of the SAARC leaders will now take place on November 13 at the Jamuna Guest House in the Prime Minister's office before the closing ceremony.

Dr Singh will leave shortly after the closing ceremony.

Besides meeting the Pakistani prime minister, Dr Singh will meet Bangladesh Premier Khaleda Zia on November 12. His meeting with other SAARC leaders, including King Gyanendra of Nepal, Chandrika Kumaratunga of Sri Lanka and the Maldives President Abdul Gayoom, are being fixed.

However, great significance is being attached to the prime minister's meeting with Aziz. The meeting comes days after the serial bomb blasts in New Delhi on October 29 in which more than 60 people were killed. The Pakistan-supported Laskher-e-Tayiba militants are suspected to be behind the blasts.

There has also been an upsurge in violence in Jammu and Kashmir and there is a feeling in Indian circles that Pakistan has not lived up to its commitment that it would not allow its territory to be misused for export of terrorism.

The sources said the prime minister would draw Aziz's attention to the recent increase in terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The two leaders will also discuss the progress in the composite dialogue process initiated in February 2004 after a historic meeting between then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan President General Musharraf on the margins of the 12th SAARC summit in January.

Two rounds of talks under the composite dialogue process have already been completed, but no tangible progress has been made so far on the contentious issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

The third round of talks is scheduled to begin in January. The two prime ministers will also discuss specific steps for coordinating relief operations in the areas affected by the October 8 earthquake which rocked Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir.

India has sent three consignments of relief in the wake of the quake in PoK in which more than 73,000 people were killed.

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Source: source