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'If Musharraf talks, it will be cricket'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 24, 2005 17:52 IST
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India has said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf would have no structured agenda when they meet in Delhi next month.

The two leaders would discuss issues of their interest during the "informal get-together" when Musharraf arrives in Delhi on April 16, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said.

Musharraf will be in Delhi to watch the April 17 one-day international in the ongoing Indo-Pak cricket series.

"We are looking forward to his visit to New Delhi as an opportunity for the two leaders to engage in talks on different matters. It is not an official summit. It is not a structured meeting and it, therefore, will have no agenda," Saran said.

The informal talks will take place over lunch, which the prime minister has planned for Musharraf.

This will be Musharraf's first trip to India after the failed Agra summit of 2001.

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During a briefing to Pakistan media, Saran said: "We need to overcome the existing mistrust between the two nations to bridge what your President Musharraf calls the trust deficit. The [Kashmir] issue has defied solution for many years. The greater the trust, greater the chances of solving the issue," he said.

An effort to find a solution to the Kashmir problem was being made, he said.

He added both countries had their clear viewpoint, which necessitated the creation of a middle ground to reach a mutual understanding.

On Pakistan's oft-repeated assertions to include Kashmiris in the talks, Saran said, "The people of Kashmir are very much part and parcel of India's public opinion."

Meanwhile, Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh also said on Thursday that Musharraf would not discuss any issue other than cricket during his visit to India.

"Musharraf will come here to watch cricket and if he talked to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it would be about cricket," Singh confirmed during question hour in the Rajya Sabha.

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