Pak Delegation Refuses To Come For Trade Talks

19 September 2008
The Indian Express

New Delhi: The joint working group on India-Pakistan cross LoC trade meets in New Delhi on Monday but the business delegation from Pakistan comprising the chambers of commerce, which was scheduled to arrive here next week, has refused to come. Foreign Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon said on Friday India wanted to start it by next month but added that Pakistan was not cooperating. He said India had, in 2005 ,suggested starting of commerce on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad, Poonch-Rawalkote and Kargil-Skardu routes and gave Pakistan a list of items for trade. Two years ago, Menon said, India had also invited business delegation from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to visit Srinagar after which a similar delegation could go there from this side. “Unfortunately, so far Pakistan has not yet agreed to that. We were hoping they do that very soon to render trade meaningful,” he said. Ahead of the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Menon said an atmosphere free of violence and Terror was necessary for the dialogue process between the two countries to move ahead. “You know the agenda with Pakistan very well,” Menon told reporters when asked what would be Singh’s message to Zardari when they meet in New York next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. “We feel that for our dialogue process to move forward, we should be in an atmosphere free of violence and terror,” he added.