Terror to dominate Indo-Pak talks
New Delhi, July 1
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani will take up issues like peace and security, including confidence building measures (CBMS), Jammu and Kashmir and promotion of friendly exchanges during their two-day meeting.
Though no major breakthrough is expected at the talks, the two sides will reaffirm their commitment to stay engaged despite ups and downs in ties. The two top diplomats are also likely to finalise the date for External Affairs Minister SM Krishna’s visit to Islamabad to review the progress in the dialogue process with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar.
Krishna was initially scheduled to visit Pakistan on July 17-18 but the trip has been postponed in view of the Presidential poll here. Since Parliament is scheduled to hold its monsoon session in July-August, the two countries are now looking at the possibility of Krishna travelling to Islamabad in late August or early September.
The talks are being held against the backdrop of Jundal’s sensational disclosures suggesting the involvement of Pakistani state actors in the Mumbai mayhem. Though Indian officials say they would not share Jundal’s revelations with Islamabad, it is highly unlikely that the two foreign secretaries would not touch the Mumbai attack issue during their meeting. Without doubt, India will reiterate its demand that Pakistan bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack and ensure that the Pakistani territory is not misused for launching attacks on this country. The demand for the release of Sarabjit and other Indian prisoners will also be raised.
Pakistan is likely to again ask India to expedite solutions to issues like Siachen and Sir Creek, which both countries consider as 'doables'. Recent talks on these two issues had, however, not yielded results.
Pakistan believes that the two countries should make the dialogue process irreversible, regardless of the state of bilateral relationship. It is apparently dawning on Pakistan gradually that it has to resolve its differences with India on a bilateral basis without third party intervention. Islamabad also realises that it too could emulate India ’s economic success story by cooperating with New Delhi rather than confronting it. Hence, it has started dismantling trade barriers for India and will soon formally grant the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to its neighbour.
Asked about the likely outcome of the talks, official sources said one must not expect instant results from any India-Pakistan interaction. “It’s a process…one must, however, appreciate the fact that there is less tension between the two countries and they are both trying to improve ties, particularly in the field of trade.”
Sources also pointed out that the rhetoric from the Pakistani side on the J & K issue has come down considerably although the Pakistan High Commission has invited Hurriyat leaders for consultations ahead of the meeting between the foreign secretaries.
Regarding the new visa agreement between the two countries which is expected to facilitate easy travel, the sources said Pakistan is still insisting that it should be signed between home/interior ministers of the two countries. India, on the other hand, wants the accord to be signed as quickly as possible. The delay in inking it, New Delhi believes, is sending a wrong message to the people of the two countries.
On whether there was any possibility of India and Pakistan cooperating on the Afghanistan issue, the sources drew attention to the just-concluded Regional Investors’ Summit on Afghanistan, pointing out that it was for the first time that Pakistan had participated in an Indian initiative on Afghanistan.
Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir |
Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs |
Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |