‘No changes in Pakistani delegation to India’

New Delhi/Islamabad, Feb 23 (IANS) A day before Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir arrives in Delhi, both India and Pakistan have denied that there was any change in the Pakistani delegation, or move to exclude officials from water and interior departments.

Responding to media reports that India had forced a change in the Pakistani delegation, Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said such reports were ‘factually incorrect and absolutely baseless’.

Earlier, in Islamabad, Pakistan foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit also said that there were no changes in the eight-member Pakistani delegation for the foreign secretary-level talks with India.

He said no such demand was made by India.

Salman Bashir will arrive with his seven-member delegation via a commercial flight from Lahore and reach Delhi at 4.30 p.m Wednesday. He is scheduled to meet Hurriyat leaders in the evening.

On Thursday, Bashir will hold formal talks with the Indian foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, the first such meeting after the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

India has been saying that Pakistan-based terrorism, as well as investigations into Mumbai attacks will be its only agenda at the talks. Pakistani officials have, however, contended that the talks can only be successful if these are more broad-based, and included issues of conflict like water and Kashmir.

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