02 January 2002
Foreign Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation have begun two days of meetings in Kathmandu, Nepal. Leaders from the seven-nation SAARC community begin a three-day summit Friday.
The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan, Jaswant Singh and Abdul Sattar, shook hands and smiled for the cameras at a photo opportunity at the opening of ministerial meetings held in advance of the three-day summit.
It was the first time the two foreign ministers met since the December 13 terrorist attack against India's parliament.
India says two Pakistan-based Kashmir separatist groups carried out the attacks and they blame Pakistan for supporting the groups. Charges Pakistani officials strongly deny.
In recent days, Pakistani authorities have arrested a senior leader of one of the groups as well as scores of other militants. But Indian officials say they want Islamabad to hand over 20 suspected terrorists for questioning.
India has also ruled out bilateral talks in Kathmandu between Prime Minister Vajpayee and Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf. Both countries have mobilized tens of thousands of troops in response to the crisis.