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Siachen progress needed for peace process: Pak
January 31, 2006 00:46 IST
Pakistan Monday warned that lack of progress on resolving the Siachen and Sir Creek issue can cast a shadow on the ongoing dialogue process with India. The caution came from Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri while delivering an address on 'Pakistan: Anchor for Peace and Stability,' at the International Institute of Strategic Studies, an internationally known Think Tank in London.
"The decision to start Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service and open five crossing points across the Line of control demonstrates that if the political will is there, the two governments can achieve concrete and meaningful results on the ground. A similar approach must be adopted if progress is to be made on the core issue of Kashmir and other important issues such as Siachen and Sir Creek. Lack of progress on these issues can cast a shadow on the ongoing dialogue process," he said.
Stating that the governments of Pakistan and India should work together to achieve peace and stability in South Asia, Kasuri said, "Two rounds of 'Composite Dialogue' have been completed and the third round was initiated on January 17-18. The dialogue has simultaneously moved on two tracks, that is, Confidence building and Dispute Resolution.
"While I am happy to state that there have been positive developments in Confidence Building Measures, there is as yet little to report on Dispute Resolution since the dialogue process resumed in January 2004," he said.
Noting that Islamabad is against any arms race in the region, whether conventional or nuclear, the foreign minister said "we have tabled proposals for Conventional and Nuclear CBMs.
Some progress has been made with the signing of Agreements on Pre-Notification of Flight Testing of Ballistic Missiles and the Memorandum of Understanding on establishment of a communication link between the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency and the Indian Coast Guards.
"But clearly we need to make more progress on a range of proposals on conventional and nuclear CBMs now under discussion."
He said, "to strengthen our efforts for peace we seek to actively promote projects that are vital to the economic development of the region. The Iran-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline is such a project that is of utmost importance to the growing energy needs of both Pakistan and India.
We are committed to taking this forward." He said Pakistan-India Joint working Group on the Pipeline project has held a series of meetings. There were discussions on the project's structure and transit fee. Both sides have agreed to set up a joint technical sub-group that will meet at least once a month alternately in Islamabad and New Delhi.The next meeting of the Working Group is expected to be held in Islamabad this March. A tripartite meeting of Iran, Pakistan and India is also expected to be held to discuss matters relating to feasibility study, project structure and a tripartite framework agreement."