Source Pravda.Ru

Peace process as the main theme of talks in Delhi

India and Pakistan are set to hold a second day of talks in Delhi aimed at boosting their peace process, with Kashmir the main theme. It is the first official ministerial meeting between them for three years. An Indian spokesman said the first day's talks between the two countries' foreign ministers had passed off in friendly and cordial fashion. However, the BBC's Sanjiv Srivastava in Delhi says neither government expects a significant breakthrough. Correspondents say differences are likely to emerge at a news conference on Monday at the end of the talks. No agreement is expected on the central issue of Kashmir, but some confidence-building measures could be announced, such as the restoration of transport links and people-to-people contacts, informs BBC NEWS. According to Channelnewsasia, India and Pakistan pledged to keep their shaky peace process on track during the first contact since 2001 between their foreign ministers over Kashmir but an upsurge in militancy in the disputed region dogged the talks in New Delhi. A joint statement at the end of Sunday's meeting between Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mamhud Kasuri and his Indian counterpart Natwar Singh said the talks, slated to continue Tuesday, were "friendly, cordial, affable and constructive." At issue was a statement made by Kasuri Saturday before flying to New Delhi in which he repeated Islamabad's insistence that Kashmir remained the core of the dispute between the two neighbours and called for "courage and boldness" to resolve the row. He also all but accused India of merely going "through motions" and of not being serious in trying to find a solution to the dispute over Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both. Indian spokesman Sarna said New Delhi had expressed its concerns over an increase in the cross-border flow of militants into Indian Kashmir during Sunday's talks. “A good beginning.” That was how senior official sources categorised the first day of talks between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan, Mr Natwar Singh and Mr Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, today. An hour-long one-on-one meeting between Mr Singh and Mr Kasuri prior to the delegation-level talks suggests that the minor “disappointment” over Mr Kasuri’s remarks on Kashmir was in the past. “It’s a relationship we’re looking at,” an official source said. “It’s not about words.” The two countries appeared set to announce a fresh set of dates for round two of the revived composite dialogue process, including the J&K issue. New Delhi and Islamabad are also likely to announce dates for technical-level discussions on the Khokhrapar-Munabao train service after the talks between their foreign ministers end tomorrow, as they look at a “mechanism to operationalise” the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service that both countries agree is a crucial confidence-building measure for intra-Kashmir harmony. Also likely is an MoU on cooperation between the Coast Guards of India and Pakistan, and cooperation in the training process of foreign service probationers, official sources said. The ceasefire that is “holding” along the LoC will continue to be in place as the “most important CBM,” sources said, as both countries continue to take small steps ahead to remain engaged in the process of dialogue, reports the Statesman.

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