India, Pak to launch 5th round of CDP on Jul 21

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New Delhi, Jul 19: India and Pakistan will launch the fifth round of the Composite Dialogue Process (CDP) here on Monday after successfully completing the earlier four rounds with occasional blemishes.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon will meet his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir to launch the fifth round of the CDP and discuss issues including Jammu and Kashmir and Peace and Security and Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs). The talks between the two Foreign Secretaries are being held in the backdrop of the dastardly terrorist attack at the Indian embassy in Kabul in which five staffers of the embassy including Defence Attache and Counsellor were killed.

Officials said India will raise the issue at the Monday's meeting as Pakistan's ISI is suspected to be behind the attack.

During the past two years, several bomb explosions have taken place in Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Varanasi. India has accused Pakistan-based terrorist groups of being involved in the attacks and is charging Pakistan with not being able to reign in the terrorists. However, Pakistan denies involvement in these attacks.

Monday's meeting will be held almost a month after External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee held discussions with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi here on June 27. At that meeting the two sides had resolved to defeat the ''common threat of terrorism'' and agreed to strengthen trade and economic relations.

The Foreign Secretary-level talks also follow the meeting of the India-Pakistan Technical Working Group on Cross-LOC CBMs held in Islamabad yesterday to concretise decisions regarding bus services, trade and truck services across the LoC announced in May.

A Joint Statement issued after the Islamabad meeting said the two sides discussed modalities for implementation of the decisions taken by the Ministerial meeting of May 21 on cross-LoC travel and trade.

They also reviewed measures to ensure effective implementation of the existing cross-LoC measures, an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said..

The Indian delegation at the talks was led by Mr T C A Raghavan, Joint Secretary (PAI), in the External Affairs Ministry, while the Pakistan side was headed by Mr Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Director General (South Asia and SAARC).

''The meeting was held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere,'' the spokesman said.

Officials said the Islamabad talks focussed on trade and transport links between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) across the Line of Control.

The transport service across LOC would run between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.

The two sides also discussed proposals to enhance people-to-people contact and trade across LoC including the opening of more routes for cross-LoC bus service.

The routes include Kargil-Skardu and Jammu-Sialkot bus services, the officials said.

The Islamabad meeting was originally scheduled to take place on July 10 but had to be postponed as Mr Raghavan had to rush to Kabul after the terrorist attack at the Indian Embassy there.


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