Terrorism to dominate Indo-Pak FS-level talks

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New Delhi, Mar 12: The issue of terrorism is expected to dominatethe two-day Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan inIslamabad beginning tomorrow, official sources said here today.

The talks between Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and hisPakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammed Khan will also mark the launchingof the Fourth Round of the Composite Dialogue Process (CDP) and providean opportunity for a review of the previous three Rounds of the CDP.

The sources said India is expected to convey to Pakistan NewDelhi's concerns on terrorism still being exported from Pakistanterritory and will ask for dismantling the terrorist infrastructure.

Other issues including Jammu and Kashmir, Peace and Security andConfidence-Building Measures (CBMs) and visa relaxation will also bediscussed, the sources added.

The talks, being held in the aftermath of the Samjhauta Expressbomb blasts on February 18-19, in which 68 people were killed, come aweek after the India-Pakistan Joint Anti-Terror Mechansism held itsmaiden meeting.

The last time the two Foreign Secretaries met was in November 2006when the two countries finalised the text of the Agreement on 'ReducingRisks from Accidents relating to Nuclear Weapons.' The agreement wassigned in January this year after a meeting between External AffairsMinister Pranab Mukherjee and Pakistan Foreign Minister KhurshidMahmood Kasuri.

At the Islamabad meeting, the two Foreign Secretaries will also review bilateral relations and discuss visa relaxation.

Official sources said the two Foreign Secretaries would also discuss visa relaxation between the two countries.

The two countries had agreed in Islamabad in January during thevisit of the External Affairs Minister to complete the process of visaliberalisation by February end.

Pakistan has already indicated that it would relax visarestrictions for Indian tourists and raise the limit from five to 15days.

Pakistan's Tourism Minister Niloufer Bakhtiar has said Islamabadwas considering increasing the duration of stay of Indian tourists fromfive to 15 days and introducing a tourist section in the passports forthe purpose.


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