India, Pak begin 5th round of Composite Dialogue Process

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Islamabad, May 20: Opening the peace talks with the newly-elected government in Islamabad for the first time, Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan began discussions here this morning, kick-starting the fifth round of the Composite Dialogue Process (CDP) and to review the four rounds held earlier.

Terrorism and infiltration would be high on the agenda of the day-long deliberations, preceding the discussions between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries to be held tomorrow. Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshanker Menon met his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir at the majestic Pakistan Foreign Office.

The two shook hands and posed for photographs before going in for the talks. After many years, terrorism and infiltration will again top the agenda of their talks being held in the backdrop of the Jaipur bomb blasts and the encounter between security forces and militants at Samba in Jammu region. The talks are being held after nearly two years because of Pakistan's internal political developments.

For the past few years, energy security and economic development have dominated the talks although terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and peace and security, Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial relations and cultural exchange are part of the dialogue process.

The two Foreign Secretaries are tasked to discuss peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir besides other issues under the CDP including Siachen and Sir Creek.

India always maintained that the end to cross-border terrorism was a pre-requisite to the peace process moving forward. Besides the issues of terrorism and infiltration, increased cross-border cooperation across the Line of Control (LoC) would figure at Foreign Secretary-level talks. The issue of cross-LoC cooperation through more people-to-people contact and exchange of goods would figure at the Secretary-level talks.

UNI

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