ISLAMABAD, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Indian Foreign Minister, S M Krishna, arrived in Islamabad on Friday on a three-day visit to push the peace process and boost people-to-people contacts, officials said.
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry says that Mr. Krishna will hold official talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Hina Rabbani Khar, to review developments after their last round of bilateral talks.
The Indian Foreign Minister and members of his entourage were warmly received on their arrival.
Pakistan and India resumed their peace process last year after a gap of over two years in the wake of deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks that Indian said were planned with the support of Pakistani institutions and were blamed on the Pakistan-based 'Lashkar-e- Taiba'. Pakistan had denied the charges and has arrested several suspects.
The two countries have made substantial progress in the past year to promote trade and commerce ties. India recently allowed investments by Pakistani investors and Pakistan has decided to grant the much-awaited Most Favored Nation status to its archival by the beginning of next year.
Krishna said ahead of his trip that India is desirous of building a relationship of mutually beneficial all-round cooperation with Pakistan.
"We would wish to see Pakistan as our strong and stable partner in pursuit of peace, progress and prosperity in our region, " the Indian Foreign Minister told Pakistani media in exclusive interviews.
Both foreign ministers will meet on September 8, the Foreign Ministry says.
The two foreign ministers, following the review of progress in the last year bilateral talks, are expected to prepare the framework for the third round of the 'Composite Dialogue".
The Indian Foreign Minister will also call on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf and will convey messages of goodwill from the Indian leaders.
He is scheduled to meet some senior Pakistani political leaders including former Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, during his stay in Pakistan. He will spend his last day in the eastern city of Lahore, according to Indian diplomats.
The foreign ministers' talks will be preceded by working meetings between the foreign senior secretaries of both countries where they finalized the agenda for the meeting of the foreign ministers. The foreign secretaries will meet Friday afternoon.
The two ministers will also co-chair the Plenary of the India- Pakistan Joint Commission to be held in Islamabad on Sept. 8, the Foreign Office said.
The Joint Commission was revived in 2005 after a gap of 16 years and it held meetings in 2006 and 2007. The Joint Commission could not be held in nearly five years following the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Pakistan and India, who had been almost at the brink of another war in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, have made significant progress in normalising ties with special focus on trade relations. Islamabad recently took certain steps including switching to a negative list regime, a significant step to grant India the status of the Most Favoured Nation by the beginning of next year.
Both counties had been involved on discussions were counter- terrorism, humanitarian issues, commercial and economic cooperation, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul navigation project, Sir Creek; Siachen, peace and security including CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir, and promotion of friendly exchanges.
In order to boost people-to-people contacts, both countries are scheduled to sign a relaxed visa regime and both countries have finalized work on the visa regime.
The visa agreement was finalized some months ago and visa relaxation may be announced for senior citizens, students, businessmen and tourist groups.
The new visa agreement will facilitate multiple-entry for businessmen from both sides for one year at a time. They will not be required to report to the police in both countries as it is mandatory for the visitors at the moment.
The proposal also includes non-business visas for divided families, particularly for those aged over 65 years, and for those wanting to attend marriages and funerals.
There are thousands of divided families in both countries and they routinely complain about refusal and delay in issuance of visas due to nature of the bilateral relationship.
Sources said that during their bilateral meeting, the two foreign ministers will also touch on matters relating to the proposed visit of the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan.
President Asif Ali Zardari renewed invitation to the Indian Prime Minister when both met on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran on Aug. 30. This was the second summit between the two leaders this year. Zardari visited a Sufi shrine in the Indian city of Ajmer in April and had met Manmohan Singh at his invitation.