Indo-Pak officials to meet here tomorrow to discuss CBMs

Indo-Pak officials to meet here tomorrow to discuss CBMs

The meeting between officials of the External Affairs and Home Ministries and Pakistan foreign ministry which will be represented by an officer of the rank of Director General is the first engagement after the Mumbai triple blasts on July 13 and comes more than a week ahead of the foreign ministers' meeting between India and Pakistan.

During the meeting, the Indian side is expected to highlight the need to have a proper banking channel for cross border traders and categorisation of 21 items selected for trading with adequate safeguards, official sources said.

The Government has already cleared the proposal for increasing the number of trading days from existing two a week to four for cross-LoC trade besides multiple entry permit valid for six months in Jammu and Kashmir.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will head the Indian delegation for the talks slated for July 26-27 here.

Islamabad has announced that Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will lead the Pakistani delegation. She    may be promoted to cabinet rank in the run up to the talks. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir would also travel to New Delhi prior to the minister’s visit.

The two sides are also expected to discuss the issue of multiple-entry permits having a six-month validity with a maximum of three trips for residents of Jammu and Kashmir. The Cabinet Committee on Security had given an in-principle approval for the proposal in 2008.

The proposal was shelved in the wake of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
India may also press for opening up of the Kargil-Skardu road for trade and also to facilitate greater people-to-people movement in this region, the sources said.

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