Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries to meet on July 4-5

Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan will now meet on July 4 and 5 in New Delhi to discuss peace and security including Confidence building measures (CBMs), Jammu and Kashmir, and promotion of friendly exchanges. They were earlier scheduled to meet on June 29-30. Peace and Security including CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir, and Promotion of friendly ties form three of eight subjects of Indo-Pak Composite Dialogue. Last dialogue covering these three subjects was held on June 23-24, 2011.

On Peace and Security front, the two sides agreed to recommend to their Foreign Secretaries to extend the validity of the “Agreement on Reducing the Risk from Accidents Relating to Nuclear Weapons” for another five years. Jammu and Kashmir issue achieved no breakthrough and on Promotion of friendly exchanges, the two sides discussed measures for promoting cooperation in various fields including facilitating visits to religious shrines, media exchanges, and holding of sports tournaments and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other.

Other five subjects which form Composite Dialogue are – Terrorism and Drug Trafficking, Economic and Commercial cooperation, Wular Barrage/Tulbul Navigation project, Sir Creek, and Siachen.
Different dialogues on Terrorism and Drug trafficking, Sir Creek, Siachen and Wular barrage have been held this year but again no major breakthrough.

Composite Dialogue between India and Pakistan was first started in 1998 at India’s initiative.
This first attempt at composite dialogue collapsed under the impact of the Kargil war in 1999.
Accusing Pakistan of involvement in terrorist attack on Indian Parliament in December 2001, India froze Dialogue with Pakistan. Tensions increased further at the instance of killings in Jammu and Kashmir resulting in a troop buildup by both sides in early 2002.

With a hope to abate cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan’s assurance not to allow its territory for terrorist activity, the Composite Dialogue was resumed in June 2004.
Pakistan had been repeatedly urged to ensure that its soil was not allowed to be used by militants to launch attacks on the people of the Kashmir valley and that camps of such extremists were dismantled.
Four Rounds of the Composite Dialogue were completed before it was once again suspended during its fifth round owing to terrorist attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008.
Pakistan’s consistent pressure and India’s appreciation to the achievements and momentum that dialogue picked up between 2004 and 2007, lead to resumption of dialogue process in February 2011 in Thimphu
Interestingly, India doesn't term it as Composite Dialogue, Simply bilateral dialogue.

Following several secretary level meetings, Ministerial level meeting was held in July 2011 wherein External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and Foreign Minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar reviewed the progress in bilateral relations.

Owing to presidential elections on July 19 and commencement of parliament session on July 22 this year, Ministerial level meeting is postponed to August.

Addressing media on Tuesday, Ministry of External Affairs, Spokesperson Syed Akbarudding said,” when the date (previous) was being mentioned, there was no reference to an election for the President and with a specific date of polling on that date. Since that has become the date on which the polling for the President is involved, and the External Affairs Minister of India is part of the Electoral College for an important election in India, obviously we seek to reschedule these dates.” 

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