Fingers wag at peace talks
TUESDAY'S MEETING between the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries, to launch Round 3 of the composite dialogue process, was characterised by some tough talking, with Pakistan even suggesting that Indian comments and "interference" in Baluchistan threatened the bilateral peace process.india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 12:50 IST
TUESDAY'S MEETING between the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries, to launch Round 3 of the composite dialogue process, was characterised by some tough talking, with Pakistan even suggesting that Indian comments and "interference" in Baluchistan threatened the bilateral peace process.
Sources said India "categorically rejected" Pakistani suggestions of having "evidence" of Indian involvement in the troubled province. But Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said India had to comment on the matter because violence there had created a "certain situation" in the neighbourhood, which was a cause of "concern".
India did not raise specific terrorist attacks -- in Delhi or Bangalore -- but said Islamabad's failure to curb the infrastructure of terrorism was a cause of "serious concern" -- though there was "no implication" that the peace process itself could be stalled over the issue.
Instead, India proposed an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty to deal with criminals that threatened both the countries. Specific concerns on terrorism will come up on Wednesday, when the J&K issue is discussed by the two delegations.
At the meeting, to review the progress of the bilateral peace process, New Delhi handed over two 'non-papers' (formal proposals), suggesting that no new posts be developed and no defence works take place along the LoC, and that brigade commander-level meetings be held along the LoC.
Many 'defensive' bunkers were razed during the recent earthquake that hit J&K, and not rebuilding these would be considered a major CBM. India also proposed extending the Khokrapar-Munabao rail link, set to begin on February 1, to Ajmer.
Welcoming the proposal, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan handed over "preliminary observations" on the draft MoU on measures to reduce the risks of accidental or unauthorised use of nuclear weapons, MEA spokesman Navtej Sarna said.