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[AHMEDABAD] Scientists from India and Pakistan are likely to meet this April in Lahore, Pakistan, to discuss common problems of poverty, and to plan scientific collaboration, according to a senior official from Pakistan.

Anwar Nasim, chair of the National Commission on Biotechnology in Pakistan, told reporters at the 92nd Indian Science Congress in Ahmedabad last week that the two countries could share scientific knowledge and strategies to combat poverty.

This is the first time that Pakistani scientists have taken part in the annual science congress, which this year drew about 200 scientists from other countries.

The April meeting – details of which have yet to be confirmed — would mark a continuation of improving diplomatic relations and scientific dialogue between the two countries.

A year ago, Pakistan's science minister Attar-ur-Rahman and the then Indian science minister Murli Manohar Joshi met in Delhi, India, to discuss scientific cooperation (see India and Pakistan cement scientific ties). They identified information technology, engineering sciences, pharmaceuticals, bioinformatics and biotechnology as potential areas for collaboration.

The science ministers' meeting followed discussions between Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf and the then Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the January 2004 meeting of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation in Islamabad, Pakistan, in which they pledged to strengthen scientific ties.

Two months later, a team of Pakistan scientists took part in the BioAsia 2004 conference in Hyderabad, where they signed five biotechnology contracts with India.

"We are looking forward to more interactions," said Nasim at last week's meeting.

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