Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will talk with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in New Delhi on Thursday, which will be the first such engagements between the two countries since the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The Pakistani delegation is likely to have Kashmir on the list while India wants to focus on terror.
Will the talks be about talks and not much else?
In an exclusive interview CNN-IBN spoke to the former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf on the eve of the Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary level talks.
CNN-IBN: What are your expectations from these talks? Is this even the right time to talk?
Pervez Musharraf: I would like to put forward my hope, my hope being we reach peace, we reach an accord on Kashmir, that is my hope. Now what I expect, I wouldn't like to comment on that, I wish leadership on both sides best of luck in trying to achieve peace.
CNN-IBN:You referred to those agreements that your are able to work on with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - those are not agreements that are discussed right now. General Musharraf will the politics always get in the way, will the new government in Pakistan refuse to accept any formulation that you put together in Kashmir?
Pervez Musharraf: Well I don't think politics should get in the way, it's a question of solving problems and reaching agreements, if politics gets in the way then you won't reach a conclusion, won't reach a deal, we have to reach a deal whether politics gets in the way or not.
CNN-IBN: Do you think the deal is possible? India says it will only discuss terror, Pakistan has come saying Kashmir is the main focus of the foreign secretary level talks. Do you think a solution is possible?
Pervez Musharraf: I think a solution to everything is possible if the leadership on both sides show sincerity, flexibility and boldness...I think given these three qualities of leaders on both sides...sincerity is the first requirement, flexibility to come with an open mind and be open to the other side's point of views and boldness to repute...give and take...it's the give part because you can't have a take and take on either side, so therefore this give part is the difficult part and that means boldness from the leaders because it certainly gives rise to some kind of agitation from some groups or the other back in their own backyard.
CNN-IBN: General Musharraf, we have heard of some plans that you might have to return to Pakistan to return to politics. If you are back in power in today's situation, how would you take the relationship with India forward?
Pervez Musharraf: Well thank you very much for the comment, if at all I'm back and in charge definitely I' m for peace...I'm very clear in my mind...peace for the sake of the world because the world thinks that this is a nuclear flashpoint and peace for the sake of bilateral benefits for the sake of Indian people, Pakistani people...so much to gain, so I think peace for the sake of everyone, I will go absolutely for peace between India and Pakistan.
CNN-IBN: The former NSA of India said last year in an interview that it was much easier to talk while you were in Pakistan in power because you knew who to speak to. Do you think that would be a problem for India today.. that there too many voices coming out of Pakistan today, not everyone in the government and in the forces that control Pakistan are on the same page?
Pervez Musharraf: Well I'm grateful to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the comments of anyone who thinks it was easy to deal with me...I hope this similar situation is with the present government that both sides show flexibility and that's my hope.
CNN-IBN: Are you disappointed that you and India were not able to manage any kind of resolution when you were in power because after the Mumbai incident, it seems the paradigm between India and Pakistan has shifted and perhaps will not come back to where when you were in power?
Pervez Musharraf: Well it should not have happened that way, these terrorist attacks, whether in Mumbai or the Parliament attack in the past...we must not waiver from the path of peace. We must know that the terrorists' and the extremists' game plan is to exactly not to have peace between India and Pakistan so we are playing in their hands, so that's why these kind of terrorist attacks must not deter us from the path of peace and we must continue and I hope that is the way both sides take.