June 2004 News

Pak-India talks make no gains on Kashmir

30 June 2004
The Nation

Lahore: Two days of talks between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, which concluded in New Delhi Monday, made no progress on their dispute over Kashmir, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Writing from New Delhi, Times correspondent Amy Waldman noted however that the two sides announced more Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between the nucleararmed neighbours. The talks were the first between the heads of the two countries' diplomatic services in six years, and followed an agreement in January by their top leaders for a dialogue on all bilateral issues, including Kashmir. While Kashmir did figure in the talks, the Times said there were no specific proposals put on the table regarding a solution. They did commit themselves to a 'peaceful, negotiated final settlement' on Kashmir. In the talks that ended Monday, both sides reiterated their long held positions on Kashmir, the Times said quoting unnamed officials from both sides. But they agreed to proceed on the basis of the 1972 Simla agreement, which committed both sides to resolving their differences through peaceful means. Their foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in August, with lower- level discussions to be held before that. 'The Indian and Pakistani governments are clearly taking an incremental approach, trying to avoid the dramatic meetings and high expectations and subsequent disappointments of the past,' Waldman said. The Times said an Indian official familiar with the discussions said: 'I don't think anybody is looking at an immediate solution to anything. These are not talks in which we expect major breakthroughs.' But a solution seems as far off as ever, the newspaper said. The Indian official said India saw the CBMs it had proposed in areas like trade, tourism and transport links, a way to move the region towards normality. But he said Pakistan's stated position that CBMs were meaningless without movement on the core issue of Kashmir had not fundamentally changed.


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