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Wednesday, 11 July, 2001, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
A history of India-Pakistan summits
Indian PM Atal Behari Vajpayee
Vajpayee visited Lahore in 1999
By BBC South Asia analyst Alastair Lawson

The summit on Sunday between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is the latest in a series of high profile meetings between leaders of the two nations over the last 50 years.

Tension between India and Pakistan has meant that meetings between leaders of the two countries on their home territory have been few and far between.


While the cold war has ended and many countries of the world have embraced the concept of globalisation, frosty relations between India and Pakistan have remained unchanged for the last 50 years

The last was held in 1999 in Lahore, Pakistan, when Mr Vajpayee travelled on the inaugural bus service between Delhi and Lahore to meet his Pakistani counterpart at the time, Nawaz Sharif.

The summit took place the year after India and Pakistan had carried out a series of nuclear tests and shortly before Mr Sharif was deposed by General Pervez Musharraf in a military coup.

Test moratorium

The two leaders agreed a moratorium on conducting further nuclear test explosions and pledged a series of confidence-building measures to reduce tension, including a commitment to provide each other with advance notice of ballistic missile flight tests.

Deposed Indian Former Indian
Nawaz Sharif was in power during the last India-Pakistan summit
The declaration did not dwell on the Kashmir question, only stating that both sides would intensify their efforts to resolve all issues including Jammu and Kashmir.

The Lahore summit was regarded as a milestone by both Delhi and Islamabad, because it was the first time since 1972 that the Indian and Pakistani leadership held detailed discussions on their home territory.

In the intervening years, senior officials and diplomats from both sides had only met on the sidelines of United Nations, Commonwealth or South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation meetings abroad.

While these meetings provided an opportunity for senior officials and politicians to discuss issues of mutual concern, time limitations seldom allowed them to be debated in much detail.

This was especially the case with the Kashmir question, where negotiations were further hampered by India's reluctance to discuss the issue at international forums.

Simla summit

Perhaps the most famous meeting between Indian and Pakistani leaders took place in Simla in 1972 following the Bangladeshi War of Independence.

For the Pakistani leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, it was a difficult time.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto attended the Simla summit in 1972
He has just failed to prevent Bangladesh - previously known as East Pakistan - from becoming independent and around 90,000 of his soldiers had been taken prisoner by India.

The Simla Accord was intended to lay down the principles of future bilateral relations and bring an end to the Kashmir dispute.

Great emphasis was laid by India on the part of the treaty which stated that differences between the two countries should be settled bilaterally.

Nearly 30 years later Delhi still argues that this provision should prevent Islamabad's efforts to draw international attention to the Kashmir dispute.

Many of the other issues discussed at Simla are still on the agenda today. The agreement talks of normalising relations by improving bilateral trade, communications and culture and by encouraging more scientific exchanges.

Tashkent declaration

Another famous meeting of the two sides took place in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, in 1966.

The Tashkent Declaration was signed by Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistani President Ayub Khan after war between the two countries in 1965.

As with the Simla meeting, the treaty contains language that would not be out of place today: a commitment to resolve bilateral differences through peaceful means, non-interference in each other's affairs and the development of stronger trade links.

It is likely that the final declaration from Agra may well contain similar terminology to the Simla and Tashkent agreements.

While the cold war has ended and many countries of the world have embraced the concept of globalisation, frosty relations between India and Pakistan have remained unchanged for the last 50 years.

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