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India ready to make LoC in J&K 'softer'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 02, 2004 19:16 IST
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Ahead of the crucial foreign ministers meeting in Delhi, the Indian government on Thursday appeared prepared to make the Line of ControlĀ in Jammu and Kashmir 'softer' to enhance people-to-people contact, but will convey 'strongly' to Pakistan its concerns over the recent increase in infiltration and violence in the state.

"We are prepared to make LoC a softer line," official sources said adding New Delhi looked forward to 'realistic progress' in the composite dialogue process when External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh meets his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid M Kasuri on September 5-6.

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Foreign Secretaries Shyam Saran and Riaz Khokhar will meet a day earlier to review the progress on discussions held on the eight issues of the composite dialogue, including J&K, peace and security. Khokhar is arriving in Delhi on Friday.

Keen to promote people-to-people contacts, New Delhi feels that the LoC instead of being a 'dividing' line, should be one that can act as a bridge between the people of the two countries.

The sources said that while there was some decline in infiltration in the earlier part of the year, there has been a 'perceptible increase' in the same in June and July. During this period, incidents of terrorist violence in J&K have also gone up. "We will take this up strongly with Pakistan during the current talks," the sources said.

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