India and Pakistan on Thursday agreed to continue the four-year-old border ceasefire as they discussed various confidence building measures in New Delhi to strengthen bilateral ties. During the day-long expert-level talks on conventional CBMs, the two sides deliberated upon various proposals including early repatriation of inadvertent border crossers.
"Consultations continued with the aim of strengthening the ongoing process of confidence building in the conventional field," a joint statement issued after the talks said.
"The two sides reiterated their commitment to uphold the ceasefire," it said after the 4th round of expert-level talks on the issue held under the Composite Dialogue process.
The ceasefire along the Line of Control was declared in December 2003 and has been holding since then without any major violation by either side. The two sides also reviewed the implementation of the existing CBMs, including cross-border movement of people and goods.
The issue of arrangements for early repatriation of inadvertent border crossers was discussed but they failed to reach an agreement on it. Both sides are keen to ensure early repatriation of those who cross the borders accidentally but they have been unable to work out a mechanism for it.
The Indian side will be led by T C A Raghavan, Joint Secretary (Pakistan) in the Ministry of External Affairs, while the Pakistani delegation will be headed by Aizaz Ahmed
Choudhary, Director General (South Asia) in the Foreign Ministry. Prevention of incidents in the maritime area between India and Pakistan also figured in the discussions.
The two countries will discuss nuclear CBMs on Friday when they will review the implementation of the existing agreements, including a pact on reducing risks due to nuclear accidents, which was signed last year. Some new CBMs are also expected to be discussed.
At the talks on nuclear CBMs, the Indian side will be led by K C Singh, Additional Secretary (International Organisations) in MEA, while the Pakistani delegation will be headed by Khalid Aziz Babar, Additional Secretary (UN) in the Foreign Ministry.