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Manmohan Singh, Nawaz Sharif meeting a 'zero outcome meet'


Suhasini Haidar,CNN-IBN
Sep 30, 2013 at 08:25am IST

New York: Meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the UNGA session was the least productive meet. Tension along the Line of Control (LoC) dominated the talks and both leaders agreed that the ceasefire must be restored. But experts believed that the meeting was a zero outcome meet.

There was no eye contact and restricted smiles when the two Prime Minister met and were an early indicator of how little could be expected from the meeting. After hours of discussion the key takeaway was that the ceasefire must be restored.

The meeting came just hours after another controversy broke out over reported comments by Sharif where he allegedly called Manmohan Singh a 'dehati aurat' (village woman).

The controversy was only the latest in a series that had hit the India-Pakistan talks before they started. Others being ceasefire violations, Jammu attack, point scoring at the UNGA, Manmohan's discussion with US President Barack Obama on Pakistan and Sharif's unhappiness over it.

National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon said, "The two Prime Ministers decided to task the DGMOs to suggest effective measures to restore the ceasefire."

Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, said, "I think this was the most that could have been expected given the ground situation. It is a modest achievement and on the right track."

India failed to get any assurances from Pakistan on shutting down terror camps and curbing JuD chief Hafiz Saeed but Sharif promised quicker justice for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani said, "The trial process in the Mumbai attack will be speedied up."

It was the least productive meeting Manmohan Singh has had with a Pakistani counterpart yet. The two prime ministers returned home with the satisfaction of having met, but neither can claim to be anything but empty-handed.

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