India is actively considering Pakistan’s proposed schedule for talks on Sir Creek and water issues, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported on Sunday.
According to PTI, while India had already expressed its willingness to resume the third round of consecutive dialogue, Pakistan has also shown eagerness to initiate the schedule. In this regard, Islamabad has proposed the Tulbul-Wullar Barrage meeting between the two countries’ water and power secretaries be held from August 27 to 28, and the meeting on the Sir Creek maritime boundary issue be held between September 16 and 17.
New Delhi has also ‘in principle’ agreed to a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in New York in September, according to PTI
“Proposals for dates from Pakistan have been received last week. Both India and Pakistan are in discussion through diplomatic channels to identify mutually convenient dates for the remaining Secretary-level talks of the third round,” PTI cited official sources as saying. They said the proposals were being examined and necessary approvals for mutually convenient time slots were being obtained.
But The Indian Express, citing Indian officials, reported on Sunday that unless Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif takes concrete steps to speed up the trial of those involved in the Mumbai attacks, there would be very little resonance from New Delhi.
“India would like the new Pakistani government to indicate it is serious about what it says… one signal New Delhi would like to see is that hearings [against those accused of involvement in the Mumbai attacks] are conducted at least on a week-by-week basis,” the Indian daily cited one official as saying.
“That this is a priority has been conveyed through various channels, including through Nawaz’s special envoy Shaharyar Khan, who visited India last month… but although Khan said Nawaz is a ‘man of action’ and would take the request on board, no specific assurances were offered,” the official added.
New Delhi also wants Prime Minister Nawaz to honour the previous government’s decision to accord India the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) status by the end of this year. Indian officials see progress on the MFN status as an important marker of continuity between the PML-N government and its predecessor.
The third round commenced last September when Commerce Secretaries of India and Pakistan met in Islamabad. However, the round was paused due to the tensions between the two countries following clashes along the Line of Control in January.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.