A five-star Indian beach resort at Bentota, 65 km south of Colombo, promises an intimate experience to its guests. So, the eminent opinion-makers from India and Pakistan — including former ISI and RAW chiefs — who got together there for a track-II dialogue between June 7 and 9 couldn’t have asked for more.
Organised by a New Delhi-based strategic studies institute, it focused on three specific issues: Effective management of the Indus river waters, combating terrorism and working for a secure Afghanistan.
The exchange will help thrash out an informal agenda for the coming talks between the India-Pakistan foreign ministers in July in Islamabad.
The participants suggested India and Pakistan consider a joint development fund for Afghanistan’s reconstruction.
The delegates agreed that Article VII of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty on “Future Cooperation” leaved open the possibility of newer avenues of cooperation without needing to renegotiate it.
On terrorism, the Indian participants pointed out that the activities of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (Jamaat-ud-Daawa) were of particular concern to India. Pakistani participants, on the other hand, said there was no lack of political will in Islamabad to fight terrorism.
Among the participants from Pakistan were former ISI chief General Aziz M. Khan and MP Sherry Rehman. From India, former Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal and former RAW chief were among the delegates.