P Jayaram in New Delhi
The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan may meet in Colombo on the sidelines of the August 9-10 standing committee meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, official sources said on Monday.
Though no request for such a meeting has been received from Islamabad, external affairs ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao did not rule out a bilateral meeting between Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer and her Pakistani counterpart Inamul Haq.
"It is normal for foreign secretaries to meet their counterparts on the sidelines of such meetings," she said in response to a question from journalists.
"Details of the bilateral interaction of the foreign secretary are being worked out," she added.
The SAARC standing committee was to meet in Colombo in early June, but this
was put off following the massacre of the royal family in Nepal.
Under the SAARC charter, all decisions taken by the organisation, comprising India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives, have to be unanimous.
The standing committee meeting is expected to pave the way for the resumption of the SAARC process, stalled since the postponement of the Kathmandu summit in November 1999 after India refused to share the podium with Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who had seized power in a coup the previous month.
Recent moves between India and Pakistan to resume their bilateral dialogue and the holding of the Agra summit have kindled hopes of an early SAARC summit.
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Pak Summit 2001 The Complete Coverage
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