New Delhi, March 5: With the US President having left the subcontinent, India and Pakistan will get back to the business of thrashing out their differences. In the third round of their composite dialogue tomorrow, they will discuss expanding air routes.
In a relationship where virtually every aspect is a dispute, the two countriesí civil aviation officials have been working hard to reach a solution on allowing each otherís planes in more cities.
The two sides are wary of opening up new destinations for each other. At the last meeting, Pakistan sought permission to operate its national carrier to Kochi, Chennai and Hyderabad. At present, it flies only to Delhi and Mumbai.
In exchange, Islamabad is prepared to allow India to operate its planes from Islamabad and Peshawar in addition to the existing Lahore and Karachi routes.
Delhi is not too keen on the offer which it finds non-viable, but has agreed to consider the request. The two-day talks will also explore the possibility of allowing private airlines to operate on each otherís soil. Indian officials indicated they were open to offering three more destinations to Pakistan.
Soon after the aviation talks, the two sides will meet again to resolve differences on tariff and non-tariff barriers and facilitating visas for businessmen. Pakistanís commerce secretary, Syed Asif Ali Shad, will arrive in Delhi later this month to finalise the parameters of the trade talks.
The schedule for other issues, from Sir Creek to Siachen, is still being worked out. The dates will be announced later this month, officials said.