Arriving here to attend the 33rd meeting of SAARC Council of Ministers, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna described yesterday`s meeting between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir as part of a process of engagement which is being taken forward as per the direction of Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani.
"The genesis of all this was the Prime Ministers, when they met in Thimphu, they mandated the Foreign Ministers and Foreign Secretaries to bridge the trust deficit between the two countries. So, all these meetings at the level of Foreign Secretaries and Foreign Ministers are going to achieve that purpose... building bridges of trust, mutual confidence, respect and all the other things," Krishna said.
Rao and Bashir met last night for about 90-minutes to discuss ways to restore stalled dialogue process and to chart a way forward. Both sides described talks as "constructive" and express optimism over the future of the bilateral ties.
Asked whether progress had been made at the meeting, Krishna said, "The very fact that the two Foreign Secretaries met is certainly an indication that solid foundation has been laid for getting the two countries on the sustained engagement."