Friday, Aug 08, 2003
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By Amit Baruah
As part of the preparations for the departure of the MPs delegation, the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, briefed the members about the Government position on re-engagement with Pakistan.
Ram Vilas Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party) told this correspondent after the meeting that it was made clear that the MPs delegation was not an "official" one. "We are not going to put forward the Government viewpoint on India-Pakistan affairs. We are going to talk in Pakistan with an open mind."
The MPs, who will be attending a conference being organised by the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), are from all parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Mr. Sinha is reported to have told the MPs that India wanted to have good relations with Pakistan, but sought an end to the terrorist violence directed against India. According to one participant at the meeting, Mr. Sinha wanted Pakistan to extend support similar to the one provided to the United States to apprehend members of the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Another MP who attended the meeting said there was "general consensus" at the 35-minute-long session that the delegation would not be representing the Government of India, but would certainly represent India.
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