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India, Pakistan plan Siachen, Sir Creek talks

Wednesday April 11, 2012 08:11:52 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Building upon discussions during President Asif Ali Zardari's Sunday visit to New Delhi, India and Pakistan are looking to step up the dialogue process by seeking to set dates for talks on the disputed Siachen glacier and Sir Creek marshland.

Issues relating to Siachen and Sir Creek figured in discussions between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Zardari Sunday, with the two sides agreeing to move forward the talks on what was felt to be doable issues.

No dates have been set but it's likely that the talks on these two issues could take place before External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna visits Islamabad in June-July.

During the talks, it was felt the two sides need to reinforce positive momentum in trade ties by focusing their diplomatic energy on making tangible progress on less contentious issues like Sir Creek and Siachen which could form the basis for Manmohan Singh's visit to Pakistan.

Although the Pakistani side has been insisting on a Manmohan Singh visit before the year ends, India maintains that the timing will depend on forward movement on Islamabad taking action to bring 26/11 perpetrators to justice and against 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed.

In his talks with Zardari, Manmohan Singh pressed Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror spree to justice and act against Saeed.

Indian officials have noted that despite repeated reminders, the links between anti-India militants and Pakistan's military establishment have not been broken.

New Delhi also feels that as the Zardari government has still one and a half year to go, there is time to decide on the prime minister's visit.

Manmohan Singh is understood to be pleased about the steps taken by the Zardari government to normalise trade relations.

India feels good that the Pakistan leader spoke about the need for India and Pakistan to follow the India-China model of expanding trade while trying to resolve contentious issues in an incremental fashion.

The home secretaries of India and Pakistan are likely to meet late May in Islamabad.

Dates are expected to be finalized soon.







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