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Track-II diplomacy talks in December to focus on Kashmir

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September 21, 2005 19:27 IST

Track-II diplomacy between India and  Pakistan is to be revived, with a group of former bureaucrats, intellectuals and generals from both the countries slated to discuss the Kashmir issue in their meeting scheduled to take place in New Delhi on December 3.

The discussions between the veterans would be held in the light of the recent Dr Singh-Musharraf dialogue in New York, where Kashmir was the key issue of discussion.

Other issues likely to come up for discussion during the backdoor diplomacy talks are internal developments in India and Pakistan, terrorism, and matters pertaining to improving trade and investment ties between the two countries.

Pakistan's former foreign secretary Niaz A Niak will head his country's team of intellectuals comprising Gen K M Arif (Retd.), Lt-Gen Nishat Ahmad (Retd), Maj-Gen Ghulam [Images] Omar (Retd), former Sindh governor Ashraf Tabani, former secretary finance H U Baig, former law minister Shahida Jamil and Prof Khalida Ghous of the Karachi University.

On the other hand, the Indian side would be led by former secretary to Ministry of External Affairs Maharaj Kishan Rasgotra, and the delegation would include former deputy chief of  naval staff K K Nayar, Prof Mateen Zubari, besides others.

Quoting informed sources, The Dawn reported that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] had authorised their groups of former bureaucrats, intellectuals and generals to help the two governments in discussing various options on Kashmir.

According to the paper, the two countries are likely to support a focused approach of territorial readjustment, rather than pursuing communal thinking, by agreeing on a solution acceptable to all the three parties of the conflict -- Pakistan, India and the Kashmiris.

Confirming that the K-issue would remain the main focus of Track-II diplomacy, Niak said: "It is not true to presume that there was any failure or breakdown in talks between the two leaders in New York."

He further said that there were "good developments", which might not have been thought appropriate to be shared with the media in New York.

Claiming that back door diplomacy was succeeding with the full support of the two governments, Niak said: "Yes, we would now be discussing various options on Kashmir."

Citing a couple of options for the Kashmir issue, he said that the Chenab formula and the one proposed by the American Study Group could become the basis for any solution.

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