Manmohan-Sharif talks schedule being firmed up

Officials from India and Pakistan are "actively at work" drawing up details of talks between PM Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

New Delhi: Officials from India and Pakistan are "actively at work" drawing up details of talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in September in New York.

Both sides are also drawing up the calendar for talks as part of their resumed dialogue.

According to reliable sources, Indian and Pakistani officials are drawing up details of the bilateral between their Prime Ministers in September in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting. This would be the first meeting between the two leaders after Sharif took over as Prime Minster in June.

"The dates of the Prime Ministers` meeting are being worked on," a reliable source told a news agency.

The two sides are also firming up dates for talks on the Wullar Barrage and Sir Creek maritime boundary issue later this month, but no dates have been fixed, the source added.

Interestingly, both Manmohan Singh and Sharif would be travelling to Washington for one-on-one meetings with US President Barack Obama at around the same time.

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s meeting with Obama was confirmed during the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to India last month, Sharif`s meeting with Obama is more or less certain with US Secretary of State John Kerry extending an invite to the Pakistan prime minister to visit Washington.

The Sharif-Obama meeting is also to take place in September, the source confirmed.

Pakistan and the US are to resume high-level talks over security issues with the visit of Sharif to Washington. The talks between the two had stalled after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a US air strike in 2011 and were also strained over the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden that year.

India and Pakistan had started the third round of their comprehensive dialogue last year in September with the meeting of their commerce secretaries.

Sharif`s special envoy Shaharyar Khan had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 5 and delivered a letter conveying Islamabad`s "sincere desire to move forward on improving relations with India".

Both sides are "fixing the calendar" for talks on Sir Creek, a 96-km strip of water that is disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands in Gujarat, and the Wullar Barrage built on Jhelum river in Jammu and Kashmir, which Pakistan has protested against.

"Both sides are looking at dates in August for the talks," the source said.

IANS

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