India, Pakistan urged to formalise 2003 truce

India, Pakistan urged to formalise 2003 truce

Participants of 15th round of the Chaophraya Dialogue have asked India and Pakistan to demonstrate political will to restore calm on the Line of Control (LoC) and formalise the 2003 ceasefire.

The Chaophraya Dialogue, a Track-II engagement between Pakistan and India, is organised jointly by the Jinnah Institute (JI) and the Australia India Institute (AII), Dawn reported Friday.

The Dialogue, described by its organisers as "the longest consistently running" Indo-Pak Track-II engagement since 2008, encourages talks on complicated bilateral relations, a statement issued by the Jinnah Institute said Thursday.

The latest round of dialogue focused on recent bilateral developments, the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, tensions along the LoC and Working Boundary/International Border, terrorism and extremism, trade and development, and Afghanistan's future.

According to a joint statement issued at the end of the Dialogue, "it was emphasised that maintenance of peace along this line would not be possible without the resolute demonstration of political will on either  side; and...recommended that the two sides work in good faith to negotiate the  ceasefire into a formal agreement."

On terrorism, the participants suggested setting up of a more empowered counter-terrorism cooperation mechanism and periodic contacts between spymasters of the two countries.

The joint statement stressed on addressing humanitarian issues such as that of prisoners and detained fishermen on both sides as a matter of priority; facilitating visas by implementing the new liberalised visa agreement; resuming regular meetings between the Pakistan Rangers and the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Maritime Security Agency and the Coast Guard and  reactivating contacts for normalisation of trade relations.

The Indian delegation in the dialogue was led by AII's Chief Executive Officer  Amitabh Mattoo and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Hardeep Puri, former ambassadors K.C. Singh, Meera Shankar, and Jayant Prasad.

Former federal minister and ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman led the Pakistani delegation, which included former foreign secretary Salman Bashir and Ambassador Aziz Ahmad Khan.

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