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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05NEWDELHI35
2005-01-03 13:17:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy New Delhi
Cable title:  

INDIA UPBEAT ON PAKISTAN COMPOSITE DIALOGUE

Tags:   PREL  KNNP  ENRG  IN  PK  INDO  PAK 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L NEW DELHI 000035 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/03/2015
TAGS: PREL KNNP ENRG IN PK INDO PAK

SUBJECT: INDIA UPBEAT ON PAKISTAN COMPOSITE DIALOGUE
REF: ISLAMABAD 002
Classified By: Ambassador David Mulford, Reasons 1.4 (B,D).

C O N F I D E N T I A L NEW DELHI 000035

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/03/2015
TAGS: PREL KNNP ENRG IN PK INDO PAK

SUBJECT: INDIA UPBEAT ON PAKISTAN COMPOSITE DIALOGUE
REF: ISLAMABAD 002
Classified By: Ambassador David Mulford, Reasons 1.4 (B,D).


1. (C) Indian readouts track closely with Islamabad's detailed and generally positive assessment of the December 27-28 meeting of Foreign Secretaries that concluded the second round of the Indo-Pak Composite Dialogue (reftel). In a January 3 meeting with the Ambassador, Foreign Secretary Saran remarked on the ""excellent atmosphere"" of the December meeting, adding that the Islamabad talks were ""absolutely free of acrimony"" and ""very friendly."" Although Saran sensed continued ambivalence on the Pakistani side about the relative priority of confidence building and Kashmir within the Composite Dialogue, he took encouragement from the fact that the two sides agreed on a series of steps forward.


2. (C) Enumerating specific deliverables from the December meetings, Saran flagged the following:

-- commitment to the immediate consular notification of civilian detainees which will avoid the current situation in which official notification is not provided and citizenship is not confirmed until the indictment phase of criminal proceedings;

-- agreement on the informal ""push back"" of Kashmiris, especially children, who wander across the LOC. This will be accomplished without any kind of legal delay;

-- an accord for regular meetings of local military commanders along the LOC;

-- conclusion of a calendar for official meetings that will run through August/September 2005;

-- Pakistan's proposal to open up religious shrines (which Saran lauded as ""an important development"");

-- and ""progress"" on pre-notification of missile tests.
Saran said the two sides ""narrowed differences considerably"" and should be able to sign a final agreement in ""one or a few"" more rounds.


3. (C) Saran was similarly upbeat about his meetings with Foreign Minister Kasuri and Prime Minister Aziz. Asked about transit rights to Afghanistan, Saran reported that the issue came up in the context of the Iran gas pipeline.
Responding to Prime Minister Aziz's point about the economic benefits of the pipeline, Saran observed that all these arguments also apply to other goods that could be moved through Pakistan to/from Afghanistan. Saran also noted Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer's invitation to his Pakistani counterpart for talks in New Delhi on energy trade, and indicated that he had urged Islamabad to respond favorably to this Indian proposal.


4. (C) Comment: Saran referred briefly to the January 3 death of NSA (and back channel envoy) JN Dixit -- warning this would leave a ""gaping hole"" in India's foreign policy line-up. Although Indo-Pak relations are too important in Indian domestic politics to be controlled by any single individual, Dixit's passing cannot help the process of rapprochement. With this fact in mind, septel will offer a more detailed MEA assessment of where the Composite Dialogue process now stands. End Comment.
MULFORD