More CBMs in the offing after review of Indo-Pak composite talks

May 19th, 2008 - 8:16 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi/Islamabad, May 19 (ANI): More confidence-building measures are expected after the foreign secretaries and foreign ministers of India and Pakistan meet on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Pakistan capital.
According to informed sources, both New Delhi and Islamabad are likely to agree to launch more cross-LoC bus services and an early operationalisation of the truck service between Srinagar and Muzzaffarabad.
The Indian side is also expected to propose increasing the frequency of fortnightly Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot bus services to make these weekly, official sources said.
Foreign Secretaries Shiv Shankar Menon and Salman Bashir will meet with their aides on Tuesday to set the agenda for the talks between External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday, which will mark India’s first high-level contact with the new Pakistan government.
The two sides will review the fourth round of the Composite Dialogue and assess progress made on eight issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, terrorism, Siachen, Sir Creek and CBMs.
At the talks, the Indian side is expected to press for launch of the Kargil-Skardu and Jammu-Sialkot bus services as part of additional initiatives to increase contacts between people on two sides of the LoC, the sources said.
The two countries have already decided to launch the truck service to boost cross-LoC trade but lack of preparedness on part of the Pakistani side has been delaying the initiative.
India has already made all preparations, including widening the road between Baramulla and Kaman Post, the last point on this side of LoC, and establishing other infrastructural facilities. Liberalisation of the permit system used for travel across the LoC will also be on the agenda, the sources said.
The two sides will also deliberate on liberalisation of visa norms to encourage more travel between the two countries.
India has already made several proposals, including packaged tours and increasing the number of pilgrim places that could be visited by people from the other country.
The two sides have already agreed in principle to demilitarise the Siachen Glacier, but Pakistan has been refusing to authenticate the present locations of troops of the two countries.
India, while favouring conversion of Siachen into a “mountain of peace”, has refused to relocate the troops without proper authentication.
A way forward will also be discussed on Sir Creek, regarding which the two countries have already conducted surveys of marshy disputed border and exchanged maps. (ANI with inputs)

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