Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Indicating that there would be "minor changes" in his Council of Ministers soon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday the new External Affairs Minister would also be in place.

In an informal interaction with correspondents during the Iftar he hosted here on Friday evening, Dr. Singh did not say whether the exercise would be restricted to those already there or whether some new faces would be inducted.

"I do not want to comment," was all Dr. Singh said in response to a question. Asked when he was likely to effect these changes, the Prime Minister said, "as soon as possible."

As for the new External Affairs Minister, the Prime Minister said: "You will have one soon." Was he planning to put the new Minister in place ahead of the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan next month, Dr. Singh said he was hopeful.

On the mercy petition filed by the family of Mohammed Afzal Guru, sentenced to death in the Parliament attack case, Dr. Singh said the process was on and the President would take a final decision on it.

To visit Pakistan

PTI reports:

Dr. Singh said he had accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan but did not say when he would travel there.

The invitation was extended to him by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in April last year and repeated last month when they met in Havana.

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