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India ready to make LoC in J&K 'softer'

September 02, 2004 13:23 IST
Last Updated: September 02, 2004 19:16 IST

Ahead of the crucial foreign ministers meeting in Delhi, the Indian government on Thursday appeared prepared to make the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir 'softer' to enhance people-to-people contact, but will convey 'strongly' to Pakistan its concerns over the recent increase in infiltration and violence in the state.

"We are prepared to make LoC a softer line," official sources said adding New Delhi looked forward to 'realistic progress' in the composite dialogue process when External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh meets his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid M Kasuri on September 5-6.

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Foreign Secretaries Shyam Saran and Riaz Khokhar will meet a day earlier to review the progress on discussions held on the eight issues of the composite dialogue, including J&K, peace and security. Khokhar is arriving in Delhi on Friday.

Keen to promote people-to-people contacts, New Delhi feels that the LoC instead of being a 'dividing' line, should be one that can act as a bridge between the people of the two countries.

The sources said that while there was some decline in infiltration in the earlier part of the year, there has been a 'perceptible increase' in the same in June and July. During this period, incidents of terrorist violence in J&K have also gone up. "We will take this up strongly with Pakistan during the current talks," the sources said.

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