NEW DELHI, (SANA): The stalled Indo-Pak composite dialogue process is all set to restart in August with Islamabad proposing dates for water secretary level talks-meant to address the Wullar Barrage issue-and New Delhi “actively considering it”. Pakistan, in fact, has also proposed a meeting between the two foreign secretaries but, as diplomatic sources confirmed, only after talks over water and Sir Creek issues are held, said an Indian media report. Pakistani High Commissioner in India Salman Bashir has informed the Indian government regarding the proposed dates of dialogue through official and diplomatic levels.
The dialogue process with Pakistan was thrown off the track by the January ceasefire violations, which led to killings of both Indian and Pakistani soldiers. The water talks that were to be held in late January were the first casualty of the impasse that followed. India decided to postpone the talks saying that its water resources secretary was retiring and instead proposed that the dialogue be held in March.
The postponement came days after then Pakistani commerce minister Makhdoom Fahim called off his visit to India. “There are some proposals from Pakistan for the resumption of dialogue and dates are being worked out through diplomatic channels,” said an Indian government source.
Diplomatic sources said Pakistan has sent a list of dates to India for all government-level dialogues, which are to be held in Islamabad. Pakistan wants the water talks to be held in the last week of August and Sir Creek in mid-September. It has also said that foreign secretaries could meet in October to take stock of the overall situation.
It has suggested that PM Manmohan Singh could visit Pakistan around the same time to further bolster the peace process. Indian government sources said there is no questioning of not responding favourably to the proposals by Islamabad as India has already agreed to a meeting between PM Manmohan Singh and his counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of UNGA in New York late September.
Sharif’s special advisor on foreign affairs Sartaz Aziz had proposed in a meeting with foreign minister Salman Khurshid that the two PMs meet in New York to fast track the CBMs and composite dialogue process. Speaking after Aziz, Khurshid had said India was looking forward to meetings between the various joint-working groups in July itself.
The list of dates for talks is yet another initiative by Islamabad to put the peace process firmly back on track after the victory of Sharif in the recent general elections. Sharif maintained throughout his election campaign that he wanted to repair ties with India. While he insisted after taking over that Singh keep his long-standing promise to visit Pakistan, Sharif accommodated his counterpart’s reluctance to go there by proposing that the two meet in New York for the time being.
The Pakistani PM then went ahead and appointed former Pakistan foreign secretary Shaharyar Khan as his special envoy for reviving the track II dialogue process with India.
According to the Indian media, Pakistan had sent the schedule of talks to India. Pakistan has proposed the 16th and 17th September dates for dialogues on Sir Creek and Maritime boundary issues.
The suggested date for the talks was 27 and 28th of August while talks on Sir Creek issues would be held in the mid of September.
The Indian newspaper also said that PM Manmohan Singh can visit to Pakistan in October.