ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has prepared its recommendations on resolving the Siachen and Sir Creek disputes, to be incorporated in the official agenda Pakistan is to pursue during the Indian foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Islamabad next month.

The recommendations, drafted in the form of a proposal, correspond to the secretary and additional defence secretaries-level talks between India and Pakistan held last June, it is learnt.

The proposal would be part of the formal draft on Pakistan’s policy line during Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s meeting with her Indian counterpart SM Krishna on the coming September 7, well-informed officials at MoD said.

The twelfth round of Pak-India defence secretaries-level talks was held on June11-12 followed by additional secretaries-level parleys on June 18-19. Both the sides had not shared their respective recommendations then, saying that these would be first shared with the respective governments before getting exchanged at the government-level between the two countries.

Deliberations are also underway to take up these recommendations at the defence minister’s future meeting whose schedule is being finalised. Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar would visit New Delhi and meet his Indian counterpart either in November or sometime next year, the MoD officials said.

“Due to the busy schedule, the meeting between defence ministers is only possible in November this year. Else, it would be delayed till next year,” an official privy to this process said.

Defence Minister Naveed Qamar said negotiations with India were ‘in progress’ over the resolution of pending disputes but did not share the details. “The negotiations are in progress. Let’s hope for a positive outcome,” he told this reporter.

Both sides are in contact for the defence ministers’ meeting but the timetable is yet to be decided, the minister said. He termed the previous interactions at the relevant defence forums in this regard as ‘very encouraging’.

“The two countries are positive in their resolve to redress outstanding disputes and move on. This is important for the continuity of peace initiatives. The previous meetings were very encouraging.”

The available details of the defence ministry-drafted recommendations suggest that Pakistan had proposed, with certain modifications, the resolution of Sir Creek dispute in the light of a 1914 resolution signed then between the Sindh and British governments. The Bombay Government Resolution recognises the entire Creek region as part of Pakistan. While the country demands the Sir Creek issue settlement as per the said resolution, the modifications made in the MoD’s draft proposal reportedly provide for negotiating to consider Indian perspective on those bordering areas that are located at the Indian border outskirts and have close proximity to the neighbouring state.

In addition, the officials mentioned of the Defence Ministry-finalised recommendations as having been included in the proposal for the resolution of Siachen dispute by revisiting the 1989 and 1992 agreements signed between Indian and Pakistan. The two agreements provide for demilitarising the region from both the sides of the border. The officials said Pakistan had shown willingness to concede to India’s demand for simultaneous and phase-wise troops’ withdrawal in Siachen by Pakistani and Indian militaries. However, Islamabad holds reservations over India’s reported demand to evacuate the base posts first and forward posts later.

“Tactically, this demand does not go our way. We demand that forward posts should be evacuated first which is an operationally feasible option for us. Troops withdrawal from base posts before the forward posts would affect the chain of command at our side,” the officials said.

Although, the recent talks have remained inconclusive, the two states have demonstrated a strong will to improve bilateral relationship. Discussions on IHK are not part of the recent Pak-India peace measures.

“Future of the IHK issue also hinges on the outcome of the dialogue process,” the Defence Ministry officials said.