Manmohan In Secret Talks With Kayani: The Times23 April 2011
London: India's Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh opened secret talks with Pakistan Army chief ten months ago to build on the cricket-inspired diplomatic thaw between the two countries, a media report said today. “Singh appointed an unofficial envoy to make contact with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan's chief of the Army Staff who exercises de facto control over foreign policy,' The Times reported.It said the talks, through a back channel, have encouraged the UK and US believe that the countries competition for influence in Afghanistan could be better managed during efforts to start a peace process. Earlier also, there were reports that India has asked its envoy in Pakistan to open channels of communication with Pakistani army chief General Pervez Kayani as well as ISI chief Shuja Pasha. 'We have given the green signal. As a new season of Indo-Pak engagement bursts upon the sub-continent, there is a realization that India's efforts to talk is incomplete because there is no communication with the Pakistani army - effectively the real power centre. The diplomatic outreach to General Kayani is under the rubric of engaging all stakeholders so as not to attract extra attention, but it's a special effort by India,” sources in Indian government had said. The visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the semi-final match between India and Pakistan in the cricket World Cup last month has sparked hope of a diplomatic thaw between the two neighbouring countries. Kayani visited Kabul this week to meet members of the High Peace Council, a body set up by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, to build contacts with Taliban groups. The army chief was accompanied by General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency.