NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan are set to hold talks on two key issues later this month as part of the resumed dialogue process. Top officials will discuss the Sir Creek issue on May 14-16 in New Delhi while the Home/Interior secretaries will meet to discuss counter-terrorism in Islamabad on May 24-25, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan said in Islamabad. This was subsequently confirmed by MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin here.
Indications are that both countries consider the Sir Creek issue as one which can be resolved if there is political will on both sides. Even at their meeting in New Delhi earlier this month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had expressed the hope that the Sir Creek and Siachen issues were doable.
The Home/Interior secretaries are expected to sign the liberalised visa agreement between the two countries. The accord is likely to ease restrictions on travel and promote trade and economic relations.
India and Pakistan revived their peace process in February last year after a gap of over two years following the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
The two sides are said to be in touch with regard to dates for talks on the Siachen issue. Once they have completed talks on outstanding issues at the official level, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna will visit Islamabad in July to review the progress in the dialogue process. Islamabad is hoping PM Singh will be able to visit Pakistan before the year end. Zardari had renewed Pakistan’s invitation to Singh during his recent visit to India. The Indian leader was born at Gah village (now in Pakistan).
INDIA HAS HARDENED ITS STANCE ON SIACHEN, SAYS KAYANI
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani contended on Thursday that India had hardened its position on the Siachen issue as compared to the 1989 stance it had adopted, saying that it “takes two hands to clap”. Speaking to the media during a visit to a high-altitude army camp in Siachen sector that was hit by an avalanche on April 7, Kayani said India had “toughened its stance” on the issue. India had earlier been demanding the approval of the boundary but now it had begun asking for the re-determination of positions, Kayani said.