India, Pakistan back on talking table on terrorism, Kashmir

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) More than two years after break-down of their dialogue in wake of Mumbai terror attacks, Indiaand Pakistan today announced commencement of comprehensivetalks on all outstanding issues, including terrorism as alsoprogress on 26/11 trial there and Jammu and Kashmir, ahead ofForeign Minister S M Qureshi''s visit here by July.

Unveiling the road-map for such interactions, theMinistry of External Affairs issued a statement ''AgreedOutcome of India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary-level talks inThimphu'', saying the Home Secretaries of the two countrieswill hold talks on counter-terrorism, including progress on26/11 trial in a Rawalpindi court.

Official Spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said Secretary-leveltalks on the issues of counter-terrorism (including progresson Mumbai trial), humanitarian issues, peace and security,including CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir, promotion of friendlyexchanges, Siachen and economic issues will be held ahead ofthe visit of Qureshi.

Discussions on issues such as Wullar barrage or Tulbulnavigation project and Sir Creek will be at the level ofAdditional Secretaries or Surveyors General.

List of issues mentioned in the statement are same asin the Composite Dialogue, that was halted by India after the2008 Mumbai attacks.

"India''s position is always evolving in terms of therealities that surround us and I think the reality is thatIndia and Pakistan cannot afford to turn their backs to eachother. They must engage in dialogue which I said is serious,sustainable and comprehensive and we are satisfied with theThimphu meeting between the two Foreign Secretaries," ForeignSecretary Nirupama Rao said.

The agreed statement was issued simultaneously in NewDelhi and Islamabad today.

The Ministry said "the Foreign Secretaries of India andPakistan met in Thimphu on February 6, 2011, to carry forwardthis process. They briefed their respective governments."

About the schedule of the meetings, the Ministry saiddates will be fixed through diplomatic channels. But given thefact that the two sides have just a few months left beforeQureshi''s visit here, the series of interactions are expectedto start shortly.

"The Foreign Minister of Pakistan will visit India byJuly, 2011, to review the progress in the dialogue processwith his counterpart. This will be preceded by a meeting ofthe two Foreign Secretaries," the MEA said.

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