India, Pak Looking To Ease LoC Trade, Travel Barriers23 July 2011
Times of India
New Delhi: India and Pakistan will announce cross-LOC measures like increasing the frequency of trading days and transport across the LOC. These modest confidence-building measures (CBMs) are likely to be announced after the meeting of the foreign ministers, S M Krishna and his new, attractive Pakistani counterpart, Hina Rabbani Khar, on July 27. The 26-11 attacks will feature prominently in the discussions, said sources. 'We remain steadfast in our resolve to bring the perpetrators of 26-11 to justice,' they said, adding that 'a stable Pakistan that acts against terrorism and extremism is in its own interest.' The current round of talks comes to a close with the foreign ministers' dialogue, and the task before the two governments is to fix a roadmap for the next round. If next week's talks go off without a hitch, sources said, the bilateral relations could be described as being 'off life-support. It's breathing on its own now,' they said. It's possible that some of the discussions might move to the ministerial level from the official one, and it's possible new areas like agriculture and health might make it to the bilateral dialogue. On trade, Pakistan has said it will move to a trading system with India based on a 'negative list' rather than a 'positive list' by October, which will signal a big movement forward, they said. Khar, like other Pakistani ministers, will meet the separatist organization, Hurriyat in Delhi. 'Bad idea,' said government sources, adding that Pakistani leaders meeting Indian separatists 'should advise them to speak the language of reconciliation.' Pakistan will doubtless focus on Kashmir, but India, while agreeing to discuss all issues, counselled patience, holding out the talks to 'an atmosphere free of terror' as being conducive to dialogue. Government sources also said India had provided the US with information on Ghulam Nabi Fai a number of times at various levels. The US, too, they said, has been conducting investigations on Fai for almost a decade. 'It will become increasingly difficult for such groups to operate internationally. That's good,' they said with satisfaction. Indian government believes that the arrest of Fai marks a significant development. In many ways, it vindicates the Indian stand that the separatist cause in Kashmir was being promoted and funded by Pakistan's state agencies. They believe that in centres like London and Brussels too, this is likely to have a significant impact.