India and Pakistan resumed peace dialogues after a six-month gap and said they were committed to their November 2003 agreement on ceasefire along the border. Both countries reiterated that violations of the accord should be dealt with at flag meetings and through security channels.
This re-assertion follows Indian claims that Pakistani security forces have opened fire in recent days, causing casualties on the Indian side. In the past five years, these have, perhaps, been the most serious cases of ceasefire violations.
Briefing reporters on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon did not give a direct answer when asked if the two sides were in the process of agreeing on a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “Ask me tomorrow,” he said in response to a question from Hindustan Times after talks with his new Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir.
Both India and Pakistan proposed a slew of new confidence-building measures on a day a top militant leader warned the Pakistani government against softening its stance on the Kashmir issue. The militant threatened strikes in Pakistani cities if the government showed any signs of “retreat”.
The peace measures included turning the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service into a weekly affair and the existing permit for the bus into a multiple-entry one.
To take economic engagement forward, India has proposed to Pakistan that they jointly develop the Thar coal reserves for power generation. India is also ready to invest in and receive investments from Pakistan.