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P Chidambaram to go to Pakistan on Feb 26 for SAARC meet

In the first high-level bilateral visit since Mumbai terror attacks, home minister P Chidambaram will travel to Pakistan on February 26 for a SAARC meeting on a two-day visit that is expected to break the deadlock in Indo-Pak dialogue.

Announcing the visit of Chidambaram, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today said the home minister will attend the SAARC meeting scheduled on February 26 and 27 in Rawalpindi.

Krishna also indicated the possibility of Chidambaram holding bilateral meetings with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik and other leaders on the sidelines of the third SAARC Interior Ministers’ Conference.

“Chidambaram will get a chance to have very useful exchanges with his counterparts and other leaders in Pakistan,” he told reporters accompanying him on his two-day official visit to Kuwait.

This will be the first visit by an Indian Minister to Pakistan since May 2008 when then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had gone there for Composite Dialogue.

The visit also indicate a thaw in Indo-Pak relations, which has been going through a turbulent phase since the November 26, 2008 attacks in Mumbai with the evidence leading to the fact that these were conspired and hatched in Pakistan.

Krishna also said even “a few steps” by Pakistan in Mumbai terror attacks probe will satisfy it and help in dialogue as well as carrying on with normal business between the two countries.

He said India will be “quite satisfied” with “a few steps” by Pakistan in the course of 26/11 investigations.

This, he said, will “certainly make it easier for India to carry on normal business with Pakistan”.

“We are trying to focus their attention also on terrorism. It would be extremely helpful for our bilateral relationship and dialogue (if they take these measures),” he told journalists accompanying him on the visit.

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