M A I N   N E W S

Stop terror influx, India tells Pak
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 11
The Home Secretaries of India and Pakistan today concluded their two-day talks in Islamabad with a joint press statement expressing the two sides’ reaffirmation of their determination to combat terrorism, but there was no assurance from the Pakistani side that their continued aid to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir would end.

The Tribune understands that there was no concrete achievement by the two sides during these talks, just as the two countries did not narrow down their differences on the issues of Siachen and Sir Creek the talks for which were held here last week.

However, sources stressed that the positive aspect was that the two countries’ Home Secretaries met after a gap of six years within the framework of the Composite Dialogue process and agreed to stay engaged.

A joint press statement issued at the end of the talks simultaneously here and in Islamabad said “frank and candid” discussions were held, a diplomatic euphemism used when two sides agree to disagree.

There was no breakthrough on the question of Pakistani aid to terrorism in India as Pakistan linked it to the resolution of the Kashmir issue first, sources said.

It is understood that the Indian side conveyed to the Pakistanis its concern about the spurt in cross-border infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir since June and also pointed out that the infrastructure of terrorist activities had not been dismantled from the Pakistan-controlled territory.

The contrast between the “Joint Press Statement” and the talking points during the Home Secretaries-level discussions was quite clear.

The joint press statement said: “Frank and cordial discussions were held in a constructive and cordial atmosphere aimed at taking the process forward. Both sides reaffirmed their determination to combat terrorism and emphasised the need for complete elimination of this menace.

“They assessed as positive the increasing cooperation and information sharing between Narcotics Control Authorities of the two countries and agreed to work towards an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to institutionalise cooperation in this area, and to designate nodal officials in their respective High Commissions to liaise on drug control issues."

However, India minced no words in telling Pakistan that the latter had not initiated any long-term steps to prevent infiltration of militants. Besides, India is understood to have strongly taken up the issues of extradition of the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar and the wanted accused of the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai who, India believes, have been given sanctuaries in Pakistan for years.

The Indian delegation was led by Mr Dhirendra Singh while the Pakistani Home Secretary, Mr Tariq Mahmud, led his side's delegation for the talks on Terrorism and Drug Trafficking.

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