India, Pakistan foreign secretaries to meet July 4-5

Published Jun 26, 2012 12:00pm

File photo shows Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna.—File Photo

NEW DELHI: A planned meeting between the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers next month has been postponed, New Delhi said Tuesday, citing a clash of dates with India’s presidential election.

The postponement comes at a time of political upheaval in Pakistan, but Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin stressed that the rescheduling was not a sign of any new tensions between the two neighbours.

Talks between the two countries' foreign secretaries will now be held on July 4 - July 5, DawnNews reported.

Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna had been scheduled to travel to Islamabad on July 18 to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar.

Akbaruddin said India’s presidential election on July 19 had forced the change of dates.

“Obviously we need to reschedule,” Akbaruddin said, pointing out that Krishna was a member of the presidential electoral college which comprises MPs from both houses of parliament and state legislatures.

“But please don’t think that a scheduling issue is reflective of substantive problems. There are none,” he told reporters.

Last year the two countries resumed their tentative peace process, which collapsed after gunmen allegedly from Pakistan killed 166 people in Mumbai in November 2008.

Their two foreign ministers last met in New Delhi in July, 2011.

With the monsoon session of India’s parliament due to open on July 22, Akbaruddin said the postponed Krishna-Khar talks would most likely be held “in August at the earliest.” He also acknowledged that political events in Pakistan, where the judiciary ousted the prime minister a week ago, would have to be taken into consideration.

“Since the original date was fixed, there have been changes we are all aware of in Pakistan and these of course will be factored in,” he said.


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