Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries to discuss Kashmir
25 June 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Moscow: The Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and Jammu and Kashmir are to be discussed at the Foreign Secretary-level two-day talks between India and Pakistan beginning Sunday as part of the composite dialogue between the two countries, Foreign Secretary Shashank said here. 'Foreign Secretaries’ level talks will take into account peace and security issues, CMBs and nuclear CMB issues, talks on which were held recently at expert level, and exchange views on Jammu and Kashmir,' Shashank, who was on a visit to Russia, said. He said that the Government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reaffirmed its commitment to resolve all issues with Pakistan bilaterally and through negotiations and also to continue the process where Simla agreement is the 'bedrock of bilateral relations', and also other agreements and MoUs since signed, including the joint statement of January 6. 'This process would be carried forward to deepen the process and to widen and strengthen the dialogue process, peace and economic cooperation between India and Pakistan,' Shashank said briefing Moscow-based Indian correspondents on his talks with the Russian leaders. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who hailed India-Pakistan composite dialogue, said that though it was a bilateral process, Russia, 'as a friend', was willing to extend any cooperation to facilitate this process. The combat against international terrorism was among the top issues discussed by Shashank with his Russian interlocutors, including Lavrov and his first Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov. Lavrov briefed Shashank on how Moscow is encouraging Pakistan to curb cross-border terrorism. 'We are aware of the military action being taken by the Pakistani Government against elements operating from the tribal belt along border with Pakistan,' Shashank said. He, however, denied that militants active in Jammu and Kashmir had Al-Qaeda links. 'Not only Russia, but also the US, Britain and China are telling Pakistan to curb cross-border terrorism,' he pointed out, noting that the Jammu and Kasmir militancy had Pakistani links. During his three-day visit Shashank had co-chaired the 2nd session of Indo-Russian joint working group on global challenges, including the developments in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East. He underscored the commonality of Indo-Russian views on Iraq and said both sides welcomed the unanimous adoption of the UN Security Council resolution on restoration of Iraq’s sovereignty. Moscow and New Delhi have also expressed their support to Afghan leader Hamid Karzai in his efforts to restore democracy in the war-torn nation, even if it involved induction of 'moderate Taliban' into the post- September poll set up, Shashank said.