During the second-round of the resumed dialogue process, the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan met in New Delhi on July 4-5, 2012 for bilateral talks on Peace and Security including CBMs, Jammu & Kashmir and Promotion of Friendly Exchanges.
2. The talks were held in a frank and constructive atmosphere. Both sides reiterated their desire to carry forward the dialogue process in a purposeful and result-oriented manner.
3. The issue of Peace and Security, including CBMs, was discussed in a comprehensive manner. Both sides emphasized the need to promote greater trust and mutual understanding through constructive dialogue.
4. The Foreign Secretaries reviewed the ongoing implementation of the already adopted Nuclear and Conventional CBMs. It was decided that separate meetings of the Expert Level Groups on Nuclear and Conventional CBMs will be held to discuss implementation and strengthening of the existing CBMs and suggest additional mutually acceptable steps that could build greater trust and confidence between the two countries, thereby contributing to peace and security. The dates for the meetings of Expert Level Groups will be determined through diplomatic channels.
5. The Foreign Secretaries noted that both countries recognize that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security. They reaffirmed the strong commitment of the two countries to fight and eliminate terrorism in an effective and comprehensive manner so as to eliminate the scourge in all its forms and manifestations.
6. The Foreign Secretaries had a comprehensive exchange of views on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions in a purposeful and forward looking manner with the view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences.
7. Both sides recognized the need to strengthen the existing Cross-LoC CBMs for streamlining the arrangements to facilitate travel and trade across LOC. They decided to convene a meeting of the Working Group on Cross-LoC CBMs on July 19, 2012 in Islamabad to recommend steps for strengthening and streamlining and effectively implementing the existing trade and travel arrangements and propose modalities for introducing additional cross LoC CBMs.
8. Both sides underlined the importance of greater people to people contacts and friendly exchanges in building a relationship of trust and friendship between the two countries. They noted that the text of a revised bilateral Visa Agreement has already been finalized and decided to work for its early signing. They emphasized the importance of greater parliamentary exchanges; promotion of cooperation in various fields including facilitating visits to Religious Shrines and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other.
9. The Foreign Secretaries also emphasized the need to promote media and sports contacts.
10. During his visit the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan will be calling on Minister of External Affairs of India, H.E. Mr. S.M. Krishna and National Security Adviser HE Mr. Shivshankar Menon.
11. The Foreign Secretaries will meet again in Islamabad, on a date to be decided through diplomatic channels, to prepare for the meeting of the External Affairs / Foreign Ministers in September 2012.
NEW DELHI: Pakistan rejected Thursday renewed Indian charges that Pakistani “state actors” were involved in planning and coordinating the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead.
“I would very strongly reject any insinuation of any involvement of any state agency in acts of terrorism in India,” Pakistani Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani told reporters after talks with his Indian counterpart Ranjan Mathai.
The two top civil servants in their respective ministries held two days of talks in New Delhi to bolster a peace dialogue undermined by fresh tensions over the Mumbai attacks and political flux in Pakistan.
Jilani said that both countries had managed to improve the level of cooperation, adding that the only way to move forward on this issue was to fill any gaps that remained.
The Indian foreign secretary, however, chose to add that the home minister had already addressed the question in some detail and had drawn attention to “the scale of the conspiracy and the extent of control”.
Of CBMs, Kashmir and friendly exchanges
Three major issues highlighted and discussed during the meeting were confidence building measures (CBMs), the Jammu and Kashmir issue and greater people-to-people contact and friendly exchanges.
Speaking to the media, Mathai said that the dialogue had contributed to a better understanding of “each others’ positions”.
“While we might not agree on all issues, we do agree that relations between our two countries have to be normalized,” he said, adding that there was determination on both sides to take the dialogue forward “with an open mind and a constructive spirit”.
The issue of peace and security was discussed in a comprehensive manner. Both sides emphasized the need of mutual understanding through constructive dialogue and both countries recognised that terrorism was a continuing threat to peace and security.
They reaffirmed the strong commitment of both countries to fight and eliminate terrorism in an effective and comprehensive manner.
The foreign secretaries had a comprehensive exchange of views on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions in a “purposeful and forward-looking manner” with the view of finding a peaceful solution by “narrowing divergences and building convergences”.
Finally, Mathai drew attention to the importance of greater people-to-people contact and friendly exchanges and “building a relationship of trust and friendship between the two countries.
Jilani, thanking Mathai for his generosity and gracious treatment, said that he brought to the people and Government of India a message of goodwill, peace and cooperation from the people and Government of Pakistan.
He said that talks with his Indian counterpart on peace and security including CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir and the promotion of friendly exchanges had been substantive.
“We held separate meetings for each segment which are part of the Pak-India dialogue process,” he said.
Jilani said that they reviewed progress on peace and security and agreed to convene separate meetings of the expert-level working group on nuclear and conventional CBMs.
The Pakistani foreign secretary told the media that he and his counterpart had also reviewed progress on several “cross-LOC intra-Kashmir CBMs”.
“We have agreed to convene a meeting of the joint working group on cross-LOC CBMs to streamline and strengthen travel and trade arrangements,” he said.
Jilani, agreeing with his Indian counterpart that there was no alternative to dialogue and constructive engagement, said that both countries were important in South Asia and have a special responsibility to promote peace and prosperity in the region.
“We are not only close neighbors, we are also partners in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC),” he said.
“We make serious and sincere efforts towards building mutual trust and applying political will in resolving all outstanding issues through peaceful means and continue to work for promotion of peace harmony and cooperation,” he added.
Jilani said that he had come to declare the mandate of the leadership of Pakistan to promote bilateral relations.
“Let me assure you of our sincere desire to make every effort to resolve our differences and move forward,” he said.
Abu Jindal and peace talks
Answering a question related to the Mumbai attacks and the recent development in the form of Abu Jindal, Mathai said that Pakistan bringing the guilty to justice would be the biggest confidence building measure for Indians.
“The arrest and the ongoing interrogation of Abu Jindal has now added urgency to this matter,” said Mathai, adding that an investigation was underway and the country would “pursue this matter with determination to its logical conclusion”.
Jilani, answering the same question, said that terrorism is considered a common enemy of both countries but playing the blame game was not constructive and might hinder progress on the issue.
He said that both countries needed to go from adversarial to positive relations.
“Terrorism is an important issue and we need serious efforts for resolving it,” he said, adding that the he had assured his Indian counterpart that whatever evidence India has should be shared with Pakistan and that the country would “even be willing to offer a joint investigation into the whole affair”.
Setbacks in trade ties
In response to a question on whether the latest development in the Mumbai attacks issue would create a setback in trade ties, both foreign secretaries said it should not be so.
“The forward movement on economic and commercial cooperation between India and Pakistan is really a welcome development and a win-win proposition for both sides,” said Mathai.
He said that India looked forward to making progress on the trade track in accordance with the roadmap which has been agreed upon by both sides but at the same time, the country was very conscious as terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security and the full normalisation of bilateral relations.
“In this regard, we have reiterated the firm and undiluted the commitment of the two countries to fight and eliminate this scourge and bring those responsible to justice,” said Mathai adding that India expects the realisation of this commitment and looks forward to its fulfillment.
Jilani answered the question by stating, “I hope not. There should be no setback as it is something we cannot afford.” He reiterated the need for intensified cooperation.
“Our home ministries and interior ministry should meet more often and enter comprehensive cooperation in order to defeat forces of terrorism,” he said.
New Delhi suspended a four-year peace process with Islamabad after the attacks on India’s financial capital by 10 gunmen.
The full peace dialogue only resumed in February last year.
In Thursday’s joint-statement, the diplomats said that a meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan was now scheduled for September.