The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan who will meet for talks on Wednesday are expected to follow a carefully drafted template to take the peace process forward through a ‘step-by-step’ approach.
The template looks at keeping the dialogue process on track, working on a gradual approach to reduce the trust deficit through various confidence building measures (CBMs), extending ministerial-level dialogue in some areas and — most importantly — to ensure that the core issues of J&K or terrorism don’t derail the dialogue process.
That in a nutshell seemed to be the way forward as foreign secretary Nirupama Rao met with her Pakistan counterpart Salman Bashir on Tuesday to give the finishing touches to the agenda for the foreign ministers’ meet on Wednesday.
Striking a positive note, Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said she hoped that the two countries “have learnt lessons from history but are not burdened by it.”
She arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday. Khar, who talks to her Indian counterpart SM Krishna on Wednesday, said both countries could move forward as “good, friendly neighbours, who have a stake in each other’s future”.
While reviewing the dialogue process, both ministers will focus on keeping the dialogue process ‘compressive and sustained’, Indian officials said.
Going ahead with the step-by-step approach towards normalisation of ties, a host of CBMs are expected to be announced.
The cross border CBMs finalsed at a recent meeting between top officials of the two countries will also be announced on Wednesday.
They focus on improving trade and people-to-people contact apart from a re-look at the visa protocol. The meetings of the expert group on various other CBMs, including the nuclear and conventional one, will be held soon.