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Pak proposes dates for talks on Siachen, Sir Creek
K J M Varma in Islamabad | February 09, 2006 22:11 IST
Pakistan has proposed to India a set of dates for talks on Sir Creek, Siachen, Wullar Barrage and other issues listed in the agenda for discussion under the third round of composite dialogue process and is awaiting New Delhi's response.
A detailed list of dates have been proposed for talks between the concerned officials dealing with Sir Creek, Siachen, trade and economic cooperation, Wullar Barrage, terrorism and drug trafficking and promotion of friendly and cultural exchange, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said Thursday.
The dates have been forwarded by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to the external affairs ministry, she said without giving details of the exact dates proposed.
The two sides recently commenced the third round of composite dialogue process with talks by the foreign secretaries in New Delhi on peace and security, confidence building measures and Kashmir.
Talks of the remaining items of the process was expected to be concluded by middle of 2006 after which foreign secretaries and later foreign ministers will meet and review the outcome of the talks on all the subjects.
The two sides made considerable progress on issues like Sir Creek and Siachen as well as the trade and economic cooperation during the last two rounds.
After the first round, Indian and Pakistani navies conducted a joint survey of Sir Creek, a strip of disputed marshy land off Kutch coast.
The two sides were trying to reach an agreement through talks based on the results of the joint survey.
On Siachen glacier too, both sides tried to narrow their differences, but the talks bogged down on the issue of demarcation of present positions held by Indian troops on the world's highest battlefield.
Pakistan wants unilateral withdrawal by both sides to previous positions and do not want to authenticate the Indian positions on maps, fearing it would amount to conceding the Indian stand on the glacier.
The two sides were trying to work out a way out by exploring possibilities to authenticate the areas through satellite imagery.
On trade and economic cooperation, the two sides constituted a Joint Study Group headed by commerce secretaries of both the countries to study Pakistan's stand that India has higher tariff regime, which made Pakistani goods uncompetitive.
Pakistan also continues to refuse to grant Most Favoured Nation status to India and has not so far ratified South Asian Free Trade Area, which should have been operationalised by the beginning of 2006.