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Now, Indo-Pak secretary-level talks on water cancelled

January 23, 2013 20:24 IST

Yet another India-Pakistan engagement has been put off in the backdrop of strain in bilateral ties arising out of ceasefire violations.

The scheduled January-end Indo-Pak secretary-level meeting on waters, including differences over the Tulbul navigation project in Jammu and Kashmir, has been cancelled.

There are some "scheduling issues", official sources said in New Delhi, adding, therefore, new dates have to be worked out for the meeting now.

India had told Pakistan that the annual talks, which were held in March last year, could be held in January, following which both countries had decided on dates for the end of this month.

 However, now officials in New Delhi said there were some “scheduling issues" because of which the meeting cannot take place.

Significantly, Water Resources Secretary D V Singh, who was to lead the Indian delegation to Islamabad for talks, is retiring this month end.

This is the second high-level bilateral interaction, which has been put off because of bad atmospherics between India and Pakistan over a string of clashes along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir that left two Indian soldiers dead and their bodies badly mutilated, while Pakistan claimed that three of its soldiers were killed.

Earlier, Pakistan Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim called off a scheduled visit to India to attend a business meet later this month in Agra. Though, Fahim had told the media that he decided against travelling to India as the business meet would clash with an upcoming meeting between a government team and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who had led a massive protest against ruling Pakistan People's Party last week, the cancellation was linked to the tensions between the two countries.

Ten rounds of secretary level talks between India and Pakistan to resolve their water disputes have been held so far.

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