The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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PM, Pervez set tone for first date
- Manmohan guarded, Musharraf hopes for 'wholesome meeting'

Sept. 19: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf today embarked on journeys that would bring them together ' across the table ' for the first time.

In Delhi, Singh was guarded on the scheduled meeting on the sidelines of the 59th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

'A meeting with President Musharraf of Pakistan is envisaged. This will be a further step in the ongoing dialogue process with Pakistan,' he said in a statement before his departure.

Singh will touch down in Britain briefly on his way to New York, where he will also meet US President George W. Bush.

In the Pakistani capital, Musharraf pitched for a 'wholesome' meeting dealing with all issues, including Kashmir.

'I look forward to it becoming a wholesome meeting dealing with all issues, very much including Kashmir, and I look forward to some positive indications for progress,' he told reporters.

The two leaders are scheduled to meet on September 24 at 9 am local time (6.30 pm IST), after all other major engagements in the US.

Pakistani officials said Musharraf would also discuss the India-Pakistan dialogue during a breakfast meeting with Bush on September 22, the day he also addresses the UN Assembly.

A day before, Singh meets the US President.

The Indian Prime Minister gets his turn at the world body podium only on September 23.

More than six months of bilateral dialogue concluded in early September with a meeting between the two foreign ministers, who agreed to continue the peace process.

Since this January, India and Pakistan have taken several measures to build confidence but observers believe they still lack trust, especially over Jammu and Kashmir.

While Pakistan recently upped the ante on Kashmir, with Musharraf calling for setting a realistic time frame to solve the decades-long dispute, India was edgy, accusing Islamabad of stepping up cross-border terrorism.

Linking durable peace in South Asia to a Kashmir solution, new Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has vowed that his country would continue its 'moral, political and diplomatic' support to the Kashmiri people.

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