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Ready to discuss fresh CBMs with Musharraf, says Manmohan

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, APRIL 12. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, today said he was willing to discuss fresh confidence building measures (CBMs) with the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, when he arrived here on April 16 for a three-day visit.

``Though it is not a state visit but an informal one, we are prepared to discuss anything our honoured guest wants to raise including Kashmir, further CBMs and common security. We expect a purposeful dialogue,'' he told newspersons after the defence investiture ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

On Gen. Musharraf's observation that he would raise the Kashmir issue, Dr. Singh said, ``we are open to discuss all issues including Kashmir as this is part of composite dialogue process.''

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had met on Monday night to deliberate on Gen. Musharraf's visit.

The Prime Minister declined to go into the specifics of the deliberations and said the meeting discussed ``all issues'' related to Gen. Musharraf's visit.

A recent Army commanders' conference was asked to suggest new military-related CBMs that could follow the reduction of troops in Jammu & Kashmir and ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) and the Siachen Glacier. Asked whether the Government was considering a further reduction of troops, Dr. Singh said ``nothing is ruled out but there has to be several pre-requisites.''

Dr. Singh said efforts were on to build a tradition of more informal contacts between leaders in South Asia.

``We want leaders to travel informally and meet each other to discuss common issues.''

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