ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and India are gearing up to resume the third round of the bilateral Composite Dialogue from next month, starting with the water and power secretary-level meeting here to discuss the Wullar Barrage issue.

Islamabad has proposed two sets of dates to Delhi for senior official-level talks that would be held here in August and September, it is learnt.

The third round of Pakistan-India dialogue was launched in September 2012 and suspended due to tension caused by border incidents between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Pakistan has proposed August 27-28 for the Wullar Barrage meeting between the water and power secretaries, sources told The Nation, adding that talks on the Sir Creek maritime boundary issue have been slotted for September 16-17 and would be led by the surveyor-generals of the two countries.

These dates were conveyed to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs by the Pakistan Foreign Office about 10 days back and its response is awaited. The formal proposal for the talks was handed over to the Indian foreign secretary by Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi, Salman Bashir. “So the ball is now in India’s court,” a senior official told this correspondent while confirming this and talking about early resumption of the stalled dialogue process.

According to the roadmap for sectoral dialogue agreed by senior officials on both sides, Pakistan is to host talks on water and Sir Creek issues besides a meeting of the foreign secretaries on the Kashmir dispute where peace and security will also be discussed and India would host the interior secretary/home secretary-level meeting and defence secretary-level talks on the Siachen Glacier dispute and meeting of the two foreign ministers to review the overall progress of the bilateral dialogue process. However, India has yet to propose dates for any of these meetings.

The culmination of the 3rd composite dialogue process would be with meetings of foreign secretaries and foreign ministers in Islamabad and Delhi respectively, most likely in November, according to informed sources.

Meanwhile, officials on both sides are also working on dates for meetings of the eight technical groups of the Pakistan-India Joint Commission. Four meetings would be held in Islamabad and four in Delhi between September and October.

The decision to resume the official-level bilateral dialogue process was taken at a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Special Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on the sidelines of ASEAN meetings in Brunei early this month. After getting the green light from their top political leadership, they agreed to get the bilateral peace process on track and expedite it through confidence-building measures to improve comfort level on both sides. This was the first high-level direct political contact between the two countries after Mian Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as Pakistan’s new Prime Minister. Prime Ministers of both the countries are keen to improve bilateral relations with a clear thrust on strengthening trade ties and resolution of contentious issues that continue to strain relations.

In a bid to fast track the peace process, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has appointed a seasoned diplomat and former foreign secretary Ambassador Shahryar Khan as his special envoy to India to give political impetus for a result-oriented dialogue.

The Composite Dialogue, considered an integral part of Pakistan-India peace process, started in February 2004 but has been disrupted several times by incidents that soured relations. The bilateral dialogue process is aimed at confidence building, normalisation of bilateral relations and dispute resolution.

The eight items included in the Composite Dialogue framework are: Siachen; Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project; Sir Creek; economic and commercial cooperation and friendly exchanges; terrorism and drug trafficking; peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir.