In what is being viewed as a step forward to re-start peace process with Pakistan, India has softened its stand and decided to host Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik for a bilateral dialogue, Indian media reported Sunday.

It will be a departure from the earlier stand by former Home Minister P Chidambaram that no such initiative will be taken until Pakistan acted against all 26/11 Mumbai terror attack suspects.

The visit of Rehman Malik is likely to fructify, as recently Shinde had publicly stated that the Pakistan Minister had expressed his desire to visit India to pray at Ajmer Sharief and to operationalize the new liberal visa regime. The occasion could also be utilized to re-start bilateral dialogue on issues including Mumbai attacks. “While we have both extended invitation to each other for visit, the dates shall have to be firmed up,” Shinde said.

The Government sources here in New Delhi pointed out that there is likelihood of Malik visiting India in January next year, local media reported.

Meanwhile, Shinde hinted at the resolution of the stalemate over securing voice-samples of Pakistan based handlers of the 26/11terror attack soon. Elaborating on the issue, he told media-persons that India could expect to have the voice samples.

Pakistan has been refusing to provide the voice samples of the accused for the last four years. It has consistently maintained that procuring voice samples is not permissible under Pakistani law.

While Shinde refused to provide any further details on this subject, it is learnt that India has suggested to Islamabad that it (India) could collect publicly available voice samples of suspects which could in turn be authenticated by the Pakistan Federal Investigative Agency.

“I am hopeful that Pakistan will accept this way-out we have suggested,” a Home Ministry official said. He further said that the Ministry would be keenly following up this proposal with Pakistan.