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Pak foreign minister to visit India on Feb 20

India and Pakistan are expected to sign a pact on reducing risks from nuclear accidents during a visit by Khurshid M Kasuri.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 19:03 IST
KJM Varma (PTI)
KJM Varma (PTI)

India and Pakistan are expected to sign an agreement on reducing risks from nuclear accidents during a visit by Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri to New Delhi on February 20 to attend the Indo-Pak Joint Commission meeting.

During Kasuri's visit, the two sides may sign the Agreement on Reducing the Risk from Accidents from Nuclear Weapons, the draft agreement of which has already been initialled by officials of both the countries.

It was ready for signing as the initialled draft has also been approved by the Indian cabinet.

During this month's visit of Mukherjee to Pakistan, Kasuri said Islamabad has already completed the formalities regarding this agreement and was ready to sign it.

But the officials were not certain whether the two sides would finalise an agreement on the much-awaited liberalisation of the visa regime.

Pakistan, which forwarded its draft proposals in response to that of India's few days before Mukherjee's visit, said it was ready finalise it.

Indian officials here said it was "unlikely" that an agreement would be reached on it during Kasuri's visit as both sides have not yet finalised any details.

Both sides exchanged a set of proposals to liberalise the visa regime and there was convergence about expanding the scope of the present visa rules by including tourist visas.

The two sides currently gave point-to-point visas to most relatives and those who provided a verified addresses on the other side.

India and Pakistan apparently are willing to give group tourism visas for conducted tours by tour operators.

Officials said it was also unlikely that both sides finalised agreements on speedy return of inadvertent border crossers and prevention of incidents at sea as the formalities have not yet been completed.

The Joint Commission meeting itself carried a huge agenda as it has eight sub commissions covering a number of areas.

Six sub-commissions have finalised proposals to enhance cooperation while the sub-commissions on information and education would meet on Feb 20 to finalise their recommendations in time for Kasuri-Mukherjee meeting.

The Joint Commission which was established in 1983 has been revived in 2005 and this would its second ministerial meeting after its revival.

First Published: Jan 29, 2007 18:11 IST