June 18, 2011 3:14:27 am
Amid growing concerns over the security of Pakistans nuclear assets,New Delhi and Islamabad are set to launch their first formal dialogue on nuclear issues along with another separate conversation on confidence-building measures among conventional forces. These decisions are expected to formalised by Foreign Secretaries of both countries next week.
Its learnt that the conversation on nuclear issues will explore a range of confidence-building measures in a bid to increase predictability and trust. The dialogue will be initiated at the level of joint secretaries dealing with disarmament issues on both sides but experts are likely to be part of the group.
The Cabinet Committee on Security,which met on Thursday to clear Foreign Secretary Nirupama Raos brief for talks with her counterpart Salman Bashir in Islamabad next Thursday,took the view that India should look to take the initiative and not do anything that would escalate tempers in Pakistan.
Besides nuclear CBMs,the two will also set up a working group on CBMs among conventional forces. This may initiate rudimentary military-to-military contact the heads of Coastguard exchanging visits,seats in respective national defence institutions and facilitating exchange of military bands.
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The other issue that will be discussed at length would be cross-LoC CBMs,where both sides will look to increase the number of trading days on Line of Control from two to four and expand the list of 21 permitted trade items. Also,the frequency of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service is likely to be increased.
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