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July 29, 2013

Pakistan gives India new dates for Composite Dialogue

Newspost

 
July 29, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The stalled Indo-Pak composite dialogue process is all set to restart in August, with Islamabad proposing dates for water secretary-level talks meant to address the Wullar Barrage issue with New Delhi “actively considering it”.Pakistan confirmed Sunday a set of new dates given to New Delhi which would enable the two sides to resume the third round of their composite dialogue.Both countries are now engaged in finalising the dates.
Indian media reports speak of Pakistan’s proposal of setting August 27-28 for the Wullar Barrage meeting between the water and power secretaries of the two countries and September 16-17 for the Sir Creek maritime boundary issue.
An official source said: “Dates are being worked out. We have proposed dates for segments which would be held in Pakistan which include talks on water, Sir Creek and the Foreign Secretary level meeting. At the foreign secretary level, we will discuss Kashmir, peace, security and friendly exchanges.”
Finally the foreign ministers will meet in Islamabad to review the progress.For the first time, a senior official confirmed to The News that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart will be meeting on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly in September.
However, for the time being sources here are not ready to publicise the date expected after Eid in August. News for officials getting ready to return to the negotiating table comes amidst news of an uneasy calm on the Line of Control which saw a Pakistani soldier killed on Saturday by Indian fire.
It appears that it was the meeting of former foreign secretary Shaharyar Khan, now Nawaz Sharif’s special envoy on backdoor diplomacy, who got the green signal from his interlocutors in Delhi for the resumption of the dialogue.
Reports from New Delhi spoke about restarting the dialogue which was stalled by India in January this year.“We have agreed in principle to resume talks. We have given dates to the

Indian side but there has been no response from them as yet. It will be the first time that the two sides will sit around the table after the new government took over in Islamabad,” sources maintained.
“Talks on Siachen and interior affairs will be held in Delhi. Another segment, commerce and trade has already been held in December last year. In addition to issues on composite dialogue, the joint commission will also hold talks,” said the sources.
In principle, Pakistan has agreed to the two prime ministers meeting on the sidelines of UNGA in September, they said.Diplomats on both sides have repeatedly suggested over the years that politicians should meet from both sides to take strong decisions and give guidelines to the bureaucracy.
“Specially in matters related to the two countries it is of great importance that if there is to be a breakthrough on any of the contentious issues, it has to come from the leaders as bureaucrats do not have the licence to move away from their files,” commented one official.
SANA adds: The water talks that were to be held in late January were the first casualty of the impasse that followed. India decided to postpone the talks saying that its water resources secretary was retiring and instead proposed that the dialogue be held in March.The postponement came days after then Pakistani commerce minister Makhdoom Fahim called off his visit to India.