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India to revive hotline with Pakistan
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10
India has provided to Pakistan technical details for installation of a hotline between the two Foreign Secretaries, one of the major confidence-building measures (CBMs) between the two nuclear neighbours.

The details were provided on November 8 and the Pakistani response is awaited, well-placed sources told The Tribune this evening.

This is being viewed as a major step forward because the hotline between the two countriesí Prime Ministers remains in disuse and that between the two Directors- General of Military Operations merely notional.

The Indo-Pak relations are set for yet another political CBM ó the India visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on November 23. The issue of civilian prisoners will gain prominence during, Mr Azizís, discussions with the Indian leadership, even though the visit is largely multilateral and SAARC-oriented.

Though India released 25 Pakistani civilian prisoners yesterday, over 150 Indian civilian prisoners are still languishing in Pakistani jails, even after completion of their sentence.

Islamabad had said in August last that it would provide consular access to India for these prisoners but nothing has been done so far.

On its part, India is planning to provide consular access to Pakistan by late November or early December this year to all those 70-odd Pakistani civilian prisoners in Indian jails who have completed their sentence.

Before, Mr Azizís, arrival here, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would have completed his maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir. Dr Manmohan Singh, is visiting Srinagar on November 17 and Jammu the next day.

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