The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Truck and bus on Pak talks table

New Delhi, May 1: Indian and Pakistani officials will meet in Delhi tomorrow to firm up more confidence-building measures to close the gap between the Kashmirs.

On the table are three proposals: operationalising the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad truck service; starting a bus service between Poonch and Rawalkot; and setting up five permanent meeting points across the Line of Control.

Pakistan has made it clear the truck service will be strictly Kashmir specific. Goods that can be ferried will be listed and those from other parts of the country will not be allowed. There is already a bus plying the route.

The problem in starting the Poonch-Rawalkot bus service is the bad road connecting the cities. A time schedule will be drawn up to repair the road so that the bus can start plying.

The proposal to set up the five meeting points follows the Indian move to open up the LoC after the killer quake hit the region last October. Initially they were temporary, but later both sides agreed to make them permanent in the interests of divided families.

The points are at Teetwal-Nausheri, Poonch-Rawalkot, Kaman Post-Chakhoti, Tatapani-Palendri and Garkhot-Hajipir. New points could also be suggested, officials said.

A basic difference, if the points are made permanent, will be that Indian and Pakistani authorities will manage them separately. The earlier joint management pact did not work because of operational difficulties.

The proposal now is to set up permanent enclosures where Kashmiris from both sides can spend a day with their relatives.

The joint secretary (Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan) in the foreign ministry, Dilip Sinha, will lead the Indian delegation. The Pakistani delegation, led by Syed Ibne Abbas, director-general, South Asia, landed in Delhi today.

The officials said the talks were part of the third round of the composite dialogue process.

Delhi and Islamabad are also working on the draft text of an agreement to reduce risk from nuclear weapons accidents.

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