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Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 19:33 GMT 20:33 UK
India frees jailed Pakistanis
Kashmir Line of Control
Kashmir will be the main subject of the summit
The Indian Government says it will free more than 400 Pakistani civilians held in various of its prisons, as a goodwill gesture before a summit meeting next week.

An Indian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the move reflected Delhi's "positive approach" towards Islamabad.

Atal Behari Vajpayee
Vajpayee is looking for a more positive approach
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf will begin the three-day summit in Delhi on 14 July.

Earlier on Wednesday, Pakistan released an Indian cyclist, Vikas Singh, who was jailed for three years after entering the country from Afghanistan without a visa.

The Indian spokeswoman, Nirupama Rao, said the prisoners included 229 Pakistani civilians held for violating Indian visa laws and more than 200 fishermen who had strayed into Indian waters.

She said there were over 600 Indian civilians currently held in Pakistani jails.

'Positive approach'

Mr Vajpayee has also instructed the coastguard in future to turn back rather than arrest Pakistani fishermen who cross inadvertently into Indian territory, Ms Rao said.

Pervez Musharraf
Gen Musharraf is due in Delhi in 10 days
Correspondents say that the issue has long been a sore point in bilateral relations.

"These steps are reflective of our positive approach to all our neighbours, including Pakistan," Ms Rao said.

Other measures included the elimination of tariffs on 50 product lines of Pakistani imports to India, and the introduction of 20 scholarships for Pakistanis to study in Indian technical institutes.

Kashmir emphasis

The Delhi summit, the first between the two countries for more than two years, is expected to focus on the Kashmir dispute.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947, two of them over Kashmir - in 1947-8 and 1965.

Relations have been tense since the Kargil dispute two years ago, when Pakistani forces crossed the Kashmir Line of Control.

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See also:

13 Feb 01 | South Asia
Russia and India bolster military ties
19 Jun 01 | South Asia
Date set for India-Pakistan summit
24 Aug 00 | South Asia
India and Pakistan: Troubled relations
24 May 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: India
20 Jun 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Pakistan
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