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Indo-Pak CBM talks from Friday

Source: PTI
August 04, 2005 20:52 IST
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The issue of prior notification on missile tests will be high on the agenda as India and Pakistan hold their third round of expert-level talks on nuclear confidence-building measures in New Delhi from Friday.

The two-day talks on nuclear CBMs will be followed by parleys on conventional CBMs from August 8, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday.

The Indian side at the nuclear CBM talks will be led by additional secretary (United Nations) in the external affairs ministry, Meera Shankar, while Tariq Usman Haider, additional secretary in the Pakistan foreign office, will lead his country's delegation.

Sarna said the two sides will review the progress made so far in the two rounds held on nuclear CBMs and steps to carry them forward. Considerable progress was reported at the last round of talks in December in Islamabad with Pakistan, changing its known stand, said that South Asia was no longer a 'nuclear flashpoint'.

The two countries came close to finalising an agreement on pre-notification of missile tests in December but could not do so due to differences on category of missiles to be notified.

At the conventional CBM talks, Dalip Sinha, joint secretary in the external affairs ministry, will lead the Indian side while Haider will head the Pakistani delegation.

Upgradation of the existing hotlines between the DGMOs and review of the work on establishment of a dedicated and secure hotline between the foreign secretaries of the two countries are other issues that are expected to come up for follow-up action during the meeting.

The two sides at the last meeting had, however, failed to make any progress on the conventional CBMs. The nuclear and conventional CBMs form a part of Composite Dialogue Process which has eight issues on the agenda.

These talks will be followed by home secretary-level parleys on terrorism and drug trafficking on August 29 and 30. Commerce secretaries of the two countries would also meet in New Delhi on August 9 and 10 to discuss economic and commercial cooperation and co-chair the meeting of the Joint Study Group.

After conclusion of expert-level talks on the eight issues, foreign secretaries of the two countries will meet in October.

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