PM Manmohan Singh has already made it clear that there could be no “business as usual” with Pakistan after two Indian soldiers were killed and one of their bodies mutilated by Pakistan soldiers.
The water secretaries of both the countries were to meet in Islamabad this month end to discuss outstanding issues, including differences over the Tulbul navigation project in Jammu and Kashmir. The new dates for the meeting have not been worked out yet. The last and tenth round of water secretary level talks were held in New Delhi in March last year.
Sources said Pakistan had on November 7 last year proposed that the water-secretary level talks could be made the first official engagement between the two countries in 2013 and be held in March. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry had conveyed this to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. New Delhi, subsequently, responded and suggested that the talks be held in January.
While the exact reason for the postponement of talks was not specified, officials claimed that the retirement of Water Secretary Dhruv Vijay Singh — who is to lead the delegation to Islamabad — on January 31 was one of the factors. New Delhi, sources said, wanted continuity in talks. The government has already appointed 1979 batch IAS officer S K Sarkar, who is currently Additional Secretary in the Department of Personnel And Training, as the next Water Secretary.