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Pakistan welcomes Chidambaram’s visit

February 5, 2010

Pakistan Thursday welcomed Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s visit here this month saying it would give the two countries an opportunity to review “security threats to the region”.

“It will be a good opportunity to review the present security threats to the region,” Online news agency quoted Interior Minister Rehman Malik as saying.

“Pakistan attaches great importance to regional security and is prepared to cooperate and offer any assistance to secure regional peace,” he added.

Malik said he was looking forward to receiving Chidambaram and hoped that the meeting of the home/interior ministers of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will usher in a new era of constructive engagements.

India Wednesday indicated its willingness to resume dialogue with Pakistan, saying even “a few steps” by Islamabad vis-a-vis the Mumbai terror probe will satisfy it and make it easier “to carry on normal business” with its neighbour.

Confirming Chidambaram’s visit to Islamabad, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said: “We are trying to focus their attention also on terrorism.”

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

“Any step forward in the direction of Pakistan also investigating the Mumbai attacks will certainly make it easier for India to carry out normalisation of business with Pakistan,” Krishna said while taking note of Islamabad’s recent actions in the Mumbai terror probe.

“India should be quite satisfied with Pakistan taking a few steps to investigate the Mumbai attacks,” he replied when asked whether India would think of re-starting composite dialogue.

Krishna attributed the softening of his country’s position on normalisation of ties to “constructive signals” from the prosecution in Pakistan of the alleged masterminds of the Mumbai terror strikes that killed 166 Indians and foreigners.

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