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India, Pakistan share 'ideas'

By B. Muralidhar Reddy

ISLAMABAD, JULY 19. Agreeing to carry forward the composite dialogue process, India and Pakistan today exchanged some "ideas" on confidence building measures (CBMs) on peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir. Both sides reiterated their desire to push the dialogue process at a meeting of the two Foreign Secretaries on the sidelines of the SAARC Standing Committee conference here this morning.

The Foreign Secretary, Shashank, and his Pakistani counterpart, Riaz Khokhar, were upbeat about the progress made.

But neither was willing to spell out details of the proposals on the ground that it was for the Foreign Ministers to decide on them when they meet in the next couple of days on the sidelines of the two-day SAARC ministerial meeting beginning tomorrow.

Natwar optimistic

The External Affairs Minister, K. Natwar Singh, who arrived here from New Delhi to take part in the SAARC conference in a statement said he would do his best to use the opportunity to contribute further to creating a better climate for taking forward the composite dialogue process. Indian and Pakistani Foreign Secretaries said the proposals discussed at their bilateral breakfast meeting centred on CBMs related to peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir exchanged at their last meeting in New Delhi in the last week of June. At the meeting, both sides had submitted a set of Kashmir-specific proposals on transport links, trade, cultural cooperation, people-to-people contacts and nuclear CBMs.

Missile testing

Indications are that after their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SAARC conference, India and Pakistan could sign an agreement on pre-notification of flight-testing of missiles. At the June 28 meeting in Delhi, both sides had exchanged draft agreements on missile tests.

The Indian Foreign Secretary told a news conference here that the two sides also held discussions on how to go further on the implementation of the decisions taken last month. Dates had been fixed for discussing six subjects, three in Delhi and three in Islamabad.

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