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New initiatives, terror to figure in Indo-Pak talks

January 15, 2006 15:46 IST

India and Pakistan will discuss 'new ideas' on promoting bilateral ties when the foreign secretaries of the two countries meet here on Tuesday to kick off the third round of Composite Dialogue amid New Delhi's [Images] serious concerns over continued cross-border terrorism.

During the two-day talks between Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammad Khan, the two sides will review the progress of ongoing peace inititives and confidence-building measures with an aim to ensure their early implementation.

"There are new ideas, which will be discussed at the meeting," official sources told PTI on Sunday without divulging specifics as it may pre-empt the talks.

The Indian side is expected to make some fresh proposals with regard to enhancement of people-to-people contacts, like launching of transportation links and tourism exchanges.

The two countries will also review the progress on proposals already made, like the launch of bus service between Kargil [Images] in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] and Skardu in northern areas of the state under Pakistani occupation.

Work with regard to the launching of the truck service on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road and start of Munnabao-Khokrapar train service will also be reviewed.

Taking place against the backdrop of terror attacks in Delhi and Bangalore in which Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Tayiba have been found involved, the meeting will discuss terrorism which is of much importance to India, the sources said. 

New Delhi is expected to convey its concerns over unabated cross-border terrorism and emphasise that continuance of terror attacks could put a cloud of uncertainty on the ongoing peace process.

The Indian side is likely to stress that Pakistan is not doing enough to end terrorism being perpetrated by groups based in that country and needed to do much more if the peace process was to continue.

India feels that Pakistan had not fulfilled its commitment given at the highest level on ending cross-border terrorism and dismantling of terror infrastructure existing in that country.

New Delhi feels that if terror attacks continue, public opinion for the government to carry on with the peace process will start ending, making it difficult for India to pursue it.

The talks are being held against the backdrop of Pakistan's suggestions for 'self-governance' and demilitarisation in Jammu and Kashmir and a war of words between the two countries over situation in Balochistan.

The suggestions for demilitarisation and 'self-governance' made at the highest level by President Pervez Musharraf [Images] more than a week ago but rejected promptly by India, may be raised by the Pakistani side at the meeting.

Musharraf had specifically suggested that troops be withdrawn from three places in Kashmir - Srinagar [Images], Kupwara and Baramulla - and in turn promised to help in ending 'militancy' there.

The External Affairs Ministry rejected the proposal, saying such a step could not be taken till security situation was conducive for it.

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