SIMLA: The India-Pakistan summit talks, on the verge of ending in a deadlock, were salvaged by a dramatic midnight agreement between President Bhutto and Premier Indira Gandhi. Shortly after midnight, the two leaders signed an agreement providing, it is learnt, for the withdrawal of troops from the international borders between India and Pakistan, to the pre-December war positions.

… The agreement also reportedly provides that the two countries would resolve their differences … without resorting to the use of force… . The other terms are presumed to include the question of the restoration of diplomatic relations and the reopening of communications and other steps towards normalisation of relations. … Earlier, at a Press conference … following 30 minutes of talks with Mrs Gandhi, Mr Bhutto had said that although the summit was threatened by a deadlock over the Kashmir question, he believed there was still some hope and he and Mrs Gandhi were making “a renewed, determined and last-minute effort to avert an unfortunate deadlock”.

The agreement for the withdrawal of troops, it was gathered, would not apply to Kashmir where the cease-fire line will be discussed by officials of both the countries.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2022

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