Track-II forum seeks amicable solution of Kashmir issue
JK-Specific CBMs Should Be Consolidated, Expanded
REZAUL H LASKAR/PTI
Islamabad, Sept 3: India and Pakistan should facilitate talks among representatives from all parts of Jammu and Kashmir in order to find an amicable solution to the dragging issue, according to participants at a recent Track-II dialogue.
Opinion-makers and experts on foreign and defence issues took part in the Chaopraya Track II dialogue held in Bangkok during August 28-30.
The Pakistani side was headed by former minister Sherry Rehman and the Indian side was led by defence expert Gen (retd) Dipankar Banerjee.
The talks, organised by Jinnah Institute, a new Pakistani think tank, and India’s Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, deliberated on the situation in Afghanistan as the conditions in the war-ravaged country have a direct impact on India-Pakistan ties.
At the end of the interactions, a consensus document was agreed on by the participants, Rehman said in a statement.
The participants suggested that New Delhi and Islamabad should consider activating the back-channel on Jammu and Kashmir to complement the bilateral talks.
They called on India and Pakistan to implement, in letter and spirit, the series of existing CBMs, particularly those relating to easing travel and trade across the Line of Control.
They also appealed to the two countries to urgently initiate measures to build trust and confidence among the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The participants emphasised the need for continued bilateral engagement, especially at official and functional levels.
They welcomed the forthcoming meeting of Foreign Ministers and expressed the hope that this would take the dialogue process forward.
To build trust and confidence, the participants recommended exchange of visits by military delegations especially at the level of services chiefs, and similar exchanges between intelligence agencies.
There was consensus among participants that both sides must “actively collaborate to facilitate the prosecution of terrorists being tried for acts of terrorism” and they proposed that the two countries must respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and refrain from interference in each other’s internal affairs.
The participants said progress made on various tracks of dialogue must be shared with principal stakeholders in India and Pakistan, including major political parties.
They felt the two sides need to agree on the form and structure of their talks and noted that decisions already taken in earlier rounds of parleys need to be fully implemented.
To facilitate people-to-people contacts, the participants felt there was a need to relax visa restrictions, particularly for artistes, media, academics, business persons, students and members of civil society groups.
The two governments should urgently take up the humanitarian issue of fishermen and other prisoners languishing in each others’ jails and find “workable compassionate solutions.”
The participants recognised that instability in Afghanistan will have serious implications for Pakistan and India. Hence it is important for both countries to support reconciliation in Afghanistan, which is essential for stability in that country and the region.
It was agreed that the only solution to the Afghan problem is a political one. There can be no military solution.
The participants expressed the hope that floods in Pakistan would lead to greater cooperation between New Delhi and Islamabad as Pakistani participants welcomed the offer of Indian humanitarian aid.
The Indian delegation also included Amitabh Mattoo, Professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Happymon Jacob, Assistant Professor, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Sep 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 3 Sep 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 4 Sep 2010 00:00:00 IST
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