Srinagar: The fourth ‘Delhi Dialogue’ concluded in New Delhi on Friday last with the adoption of a joint resolution calling on both countries to make concerted efforts towards improving bilateral relations.
The dialogue brought together senior journalists, policy experts, academics, lawyers, former military officials, and diplomats from India and Pakistan for two days of intense deliberations to discuss a wide range of outstanding issues between both countries.
Entering its fourth year, the dialogue is part of an India-Pakistan Track II diplomacy initiative by New Delhi-based Center for Dialogue and Reconstruction (CDR) and Islamabad-based Jinnah Institute, which seek to promote peace between the two countries through constructive engagement and dialogue.
Recognizing that the upcoming Indian election could be a transformative one, “we hope the new government, which emerges will build upon the positive initiatives taken under previous governments and expeditiously pursue the revival of the dialogue process with Pakistan. Islamabad and New Delhi must move forward on a menu of outstanding items in order to move the region out from the shadows of instability, human insecurity and lost opportunities in trade, energy, information connectivity,” the organisers of the event said in a statement to Kashmir Reader on Sunday.
“We urge both countries to fully implement all agreed CBMs, cooperate on outstanding issues and address each other’s concerns on key issues like Kashmir as well as terrorism with the aim of resuming the stalled bilateral dialogue. It was agreed that the bilateral dialogue should be irreversible and uninterruptable.
“We appreciate the implementation of the one year multiple entry visa for businessmen and recommend that people- to-people contacts between India and Pakistan be encouraged through the extension of the liberal visa policy towards all category of travelers, particularly media-persons, artists, students and academics.
“We welcome the cessation of ceasefire violations along the LOC after the DGMO meeting last year and recommend that both governments and their respective security establishments hold regular meetings to address any future incidents.
“We call upon both governments to urgently take up discussions on Jammu and Kashmir so that a solution that is acceptable to India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control can be found.
“We recommend that the policy of issuing travel permits for cross-LOC travel be extended to all residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We urge removing unnecessary hurdles in the issuance of cross-LOC travel permits by respective district officials.
“We recommend that Non-Discriminatory Market Access be granted by Pakistan to India at the earliest and urge India to remove all non-tariff barriers to facilitate trade between both countries.
“We call upon both governments to improve custom clearance processes and the establishment of one-window container loading and off-loading facilities at the Wagah- Attari border.
“We recommend that the Wagah-Attari border should be opened for 24-hour operations and both governments should explore opportunities for opening all economically feasible land routes between India and Pakistan for trade and travel, particularly Ganda Singhwala- Ferozpur, Muktasar-Fazilka and Khokhrapar-Munabao.
“We recommend that serious efforts be made towards exploring the possibility of Pakistan granting India overland transit rights for trade with Afghanistan and India granting overland transit rights to Pakistan for other South Asian countries.
“We support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process in Afghanistan and recognize that a peaceful Afghanistan is essential for regional stability.
“We urge both countries to engage with each other to clarify each other’s apprehensions on a post-2014 Afghanistan.
“We recommend that opportunities for mutual cooperation in the development and reconstruction of Afghanistan be explored, especially under the aegis of SAARC.
“We urge both countries not to let competing interests in Afghanistan negatively impact bilateral relations.
We recommend that all regional countries with stakes in Afghanistan initiate a dialogue on adopting a non-interventionist policy towards the country,” the resolution said.
Those who participated in the discussion included
Arshad Aziz Zuberi, Chief Executive and Editor Daily Business Recorder; Zahid Hussain, author and senior journalist; Shafqat Mahmood, Parliamentarian; Ambassador Aziz Ahmad Khan, former Ambassador, Honorary Vice President Jinnah Institute; Mariana Baabar, senior journalist; Amb. Sherry Rehman, Former Federal Minister, President Jinnah Institute; Ammara Durrani, Executive Director, Search for Common Ground; Gen. Athar Abbas, former Director General, ISPR; Syed Babar Ali, former Finance Minister of Pakistan and prominent industrialist; Amir Mateen, journalist; and Syed Hassan Akbar, Director Programmes, JI
Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi, author, historian, former member of Rajya Sabha; Amb. Salman Haidar former Foreign Secretary; Lt. Gen. (retd.) Syed Ata Hasnain, former Military Secretary and GOC Kashmir; Gul Mohammed Wani, Professor, Srinagar; Prem Shankar Jha, senior political analyst and author; Siddharth Varadarajan, journalist, former Editor of The Hindu; Amb. Jayant Prasad, former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Nepal; Sunil Sethi, senior Advocate, J&K High Court; Jyoti Malhotra, journalist; Suhasini Haidar, foreign Editor CNN-IBN; Dr. Maya Chadda, Professor of Political Science, William Paterson University and Research Fellow, Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University; Syeda Hameed, author, and Member, Planning Commission of India; Sushobha Barve, Executive Director, CDR