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इंडियन आवाज़     21 May 2024 10:06:29      انڈین آواز

India, Pak ready to firm up ties

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On Tuesday both the countries agreed to set up a Hotline between Home Secretary of India and Interior Secretary of Pakistan for facilitating real time information sharing relating to terrorist threats.
Both the countries also agreed to remain engaged on outstanding issues and for ironing out the differences Home/Interior Secretary Level Talks would be held bi-annually.

The two-day Home/Interior Secretary Level Talks between the two countries which concluded here on Tuesday (March 29) was the first-ever structured talks since 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai. It took place after a nine-month long hiatus when the bilateral meeting of the Home Minister of India and Interior Minister of Pakistan was held in Islamabad on June 25-26, 2010. There was a little firming up when in Thimphu in Bhutan in February 2011, India and Pakistan decided to resume the dialogue process.

The relationship between two immediate South Asian neighbours has seen many ups and downs. However the recent composite dialogue was another effort to bring back the derailed relationship on an institutional track for engagement. The Indian delegation was led by the Home Secretary, Gopal K Pillai while the 12-member Pakistan delegation was led by its Interior Secretary, Qamar Zaman Chaudhary.

Chaudhary invited Pillai for the next bi-annual Interior/Home Secretary Level Talks in Pakistan. The visit of the Interior Minister of Pakistan to India will take place on mutually convenient dates, to be decided through diplomatic channels.

In the joint statement issued after the dialogue on Tuesday both sides reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirmed the need to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice.

Pakistan provided some updates on the ongoing trial and investigation in Pakistan on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. It conveyed its, readiness, in principle, based upon the principle of comity and reciprocity, to entertain a Commission from India relating to Mumbai terror attack investigations. Modalities and composition of the Commission will be worked out through diplomatic channels. Dates for the visit of the Judicial Commission from Pakistan in connection with Mumbai attack trial will be conveyed by India within four to six weeks. The National Investigating Agency (NIA) of India and the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) of Pakistan will continue to cooperate in the Mumbai terror attack investigations.

India provided information on the ongoing Samjhautha Express blast case investigation. It was also agreed that after filing of the report in the court, updated information will be shared with the relevant Pakistan authorities.

As the dialogue was composite in nature it covered areas like release of prisoners and fishermen by the either sides, issues of inadvertent crossers, growing menace of narcotics and drugs, human trafficking, counterfeit currency, cyber crimes, red corner notices and streamlining visa procedures.

It was agreed that by April 15, 2011 both the countries would release those civilian prisoners and fisherment who have completed their sentences, whose nationality status has been confirmed by the respective governments and whoce travel documents have been received. Complete list of prisoners in each others’ custody will be exchanged by both sides on July 1, 2011.

Both India and Pakistan agreed that issues of inadvertent border crossers would be viewed sympathetically and in a focused and sensitive manner. The Coast Guard of India and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency would work on setting up a mechanism for release of those fishermen who were inadvertent crossers and their boats on the same lines as the inadvertent crossers on land. The Group will submit its report to the Home/Interior Secretaries before the next round of talks.

Both sides commended the work done by the Judicial Committee on Prisoners for the release, repatriation and humane treatment of prisoners and agreed on the need for its continuation. The next meeting of the Judicial Committee would be held in April 19-23 in Pakistan.

Narcotics Control Board (NCB) of India and Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) of Pakistan would enhance their cooperation to ensure an effective control on drug trafficking. Talks between Director General, NCB and Director General, ANF would be held annually. Indian side accepted the invitation for DG, NCB to visit Pakistan in May 2011 for talks with DG, ANF.

The MoU on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics Drugs/Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals and related matters as finalized will be formally signed at the next NCB/ANF DG level meeting slated in May 2011.     The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of India and the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) of Pakistan will schedule a meeting to work out the technical details of moving forward on the issues of human trafficking, counterfeit currency, cyber crimes and red corner notices (RCNs).

India and Pakistan also agreed to set up a Joint Working Group to examine the modalities for streamline the visa procedures and modalities and for giving a final shape to revision of the Bilateral Visa Agreement.

One can only hope that the recent composite dialogue process which has sought to put on the rails the relations between the two countries will ultimately help to bring peace in the subcontinent

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