Islamabad: The two day India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary level talks ended here on Friday, with no substantial progress being made even as both sides agreed to carry forward the dialogue process. The next round of talks is slated for July.
Both sides discussed a confidence building measures and contentious issues like Kashmir and 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes.
Speaking at the joint press briefing after the end of talks, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said, “The meeting was very positive. The talks are not in isolation. They are a part of an extended dialogue process between the two countries. We are guided by our respective Prime Ministers to build peace and confidence.”
Answering a question on Kashmir, Rao said, “We must do away with the shadow of guns and terror. Ideology of military conflict should not have any place in the paradigm of our relationship in 21st century. It is necessary to carry forward the confidence building measures for the sake of the people of Kashmir.”
On the contentious issue of Mumbai attacks, the Indian diplomat said, “We had a prolonged discussion over 26/11 trial. It was a good discussion. We conveyed India’s concerns to Pakistan as this issue is critical to the relations between the two countries.”
On his part Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Salman Bashir, seemed hopeful of better Indo-Pak relations, but refused to give any concrete details about the measures that his country is taking to build trust between two countries.
Addressing the media, Bashir said, “We agreed to continue the dialogue process and discuss all issues including Kashmir till we find common ground. We also discussed opening more entry points on Line of Control (LoC) to promote bilateral trade between the two countries. This will be a great move for the people of Kashmir.”
On the issue of 26/11 attacks, a seemingly defensive Bashir said, “We expect that 26/11 attacks case and terrorism in general should be dealt with maturely. Terror needs to be tackled sincerely as it affects both the countries. We also want a satisfactory end of 26/11 case for normalising of the ties.”
India and Pakistan also exchanged several proposals on conventional and nuclear confidence- building measures like inclusion of cruise missile launches in the mechanism for advance notification of missile tests.
The proposal for including cruise missile tests in the existing bilateral agreement on Pre-Notification of Flight Testing of Ballistic Missiles, signed in October 2005, was mooted by the Indian side during yesterday`s talks between the Foreign Secretaries on peace and security, sources familiar with the discussions said.
The Pakistani side gave a proposal for the two sides to "exchange experiences and expertise" in the field of nuclear technology, especially the operation of atomic power plants and their safety mechanisms, the sources said.
Making a reference to the recent nuclear accident at the Fukushima atomic plant in Japan after a devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Pakistani side proposed that the two sides could work together to address similar safety concerns, they added.
The proposals were discussed by the two sides but no firm commitment was made by either delegation, the sources said.