The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Respect aviation norms, Pak tells India

Rawalpindi, Aug. 27: Pakistan has sought a commitment from India that it will respect “all principles and norms of international civil aviation”.

“Pakistan favours full respect for principles and norms relating to international civil aviation and seeks an abiding commitment to ensure that these are respected,” a defence ministry statement issued after the first day of talks on restoring air links said.

The statement quoted retired General Ashraf Chaudhry, who led the Pakistani delegation, as saying the disruption of air links had inconvenienced “people of both sides and early resumption of flights is in their interests”.

Satendra Singh, director-general of civil aviation, is heading the Indian team at the talks, which are being held at a five-star hotel here ostensibly for security reasons.

A civil aviation authority official here said: “The two sides concluded the first round with an understanding to formulate a comprehensive set of recommendations for Thursday’s round of talks.”

During today’s first session, both sides reviewed technical aspects regarding restoration of air links, which India suspended after the December 2001 attack on Parliament.

Welcoming the Indian team, Ashraf said; “There is a need for an early resumption of air links between the two countries as it will constitute an important step towards promoting greater people-to-people contacts.”

He said Pakistan fully adhered to international civil aviation norms and wanted India to state that it would abide by them.

Bus service and full diplomatic relations were restored last month. Islamabad has already mooted talks on restoring the Samjhauta Express that runs from Amritsar to Lahore.

“The two sides will also work out details for resumption of overflights and finalise recommendations in this regard for their respective governments,” an aviation authority official said.

Pakistan wants a mechanism in place to ensure that India does not suspend air links again. Delhi had also snapped air services after the 1971 Bangladesh war.

Islamabad has suggested that technical-level talks on reviving rail links be held in early September.

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