M A I N   N E W S

India, Pakistan to resume talks
PM, Musharraf agree to set up joint anti-terror mechanism
V.S. Chandrasekar

  • Decide to work for a peaceful settlement of all issues, including Kashmir.
  • Foreign Secy-level talks to be held shortly.
  • Joint survey of Sir Creek to begin in November.

Havana, September 16
Breaking the chill in ties in the aftermath of the July 11 Mumbai blasts, India and Pakistan today agreed to set up a joint anti-terrorism institutional mechanism to identify and implement counter-terrorism initiatives and investigations, and decided to resume the stalled Foreign Secretary-level composite dialogue at the earliest.

The agreements were reached at a “business-like hour-long” meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf had on the sidelines of the NAM Summit here and contained in a joint press statement read out by the Indian leader in the presence of General Musharraf, who said he was happy at the outcome.

“They decided to put in place an India-Pakistan anti-terrorism institutional mechanism to identify and implement counter-terrorism initiatives and investigations,” said the joint press statement.

Agreeing that the peace process must be maintained and its success was important for the two countries and the future of the entire region, Dr Manmohan Singh and General Musharraf asked their Foreign Secretaries to resume the composite dialogue at the earliest possible.

Foreign Secretary-level talks, scheduled in July last, were postponed at the last minute after the serial train blasts in Mumbai which killed nearly 200 persons.

The two leaders also directed the Foreign Secretaries to arrange consultations for an early solution to the Siachen issue and experts to meet immediately to agree on coordinates for a joint survey of Sir Creek and the adjoining area, without prejudice to each other’s position on the issue.

The survey should commence in November 2006 and the experts should start discussions on the maritime boundary, the statement said.

The two sides will facilitate the implementation of agreements and understandings already reached on the LoC-related confidence-building measures, including bus services, crossing points and truck service.

Meeting in the aftermath of the Mumbai blasts, their fourth in over two years and the second in about a year, the two leaders condemned all acts of terrorism and agreed it was a scourge that needed to be effectively dealt with.

The joint statement was agreed on after the two leaders had a cordial, frank and detailed exchange of views on all aspects of India-Pakistan relations.

Desirous of carrying forward the dialogue process, the leaders reiterated their commitments and determination to implement the joint statements of January 6 and September 24, 2004, and April 18 and September 14 of 2005.

The leaders decided to continue their joint search for mutually acceptable options for a peaceful negotiated settlement of all issues between India and Pakistan, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma and Foreign Secretary-designate and currently High Commissioner to Pakistan P. Shivshankar Menon were present as Dr Manmohan Singh read out the statement.

No questions were taken by either of the leaders. Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri was present from the Pakistani side.

The talks between the two leaders were held at the Protocol House arranged by the NAM Summit host Cuba. — PTI



PM accepts invite to visit Pak

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today accepted in principle an invitation by President Pervez Musharraf to travel to Pakistan and said he was looking forward to a “purposeful visit”.

The invitation was extended by General Musharraf during his hour-long meeting here with Dr Manmohan Singh.

Asked whether he would travel to India, General Musharraf said: “If invited, I’ll go.”



NAM must focus on terror, says PM
Naveen Kapoor for ANI

Havana, September 16
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) must be seen as central to the success of global efforts to deal with transnational issues, such as terrorism, pandemics and energy security, said Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Addressing the XIVth Non-Aligned Movement summit here, Dr. Singh said: "If we wish to revitalise the Non-Aligned Movement, the collective message of our Summit must be seen as being central to the success of global efforts to deal with urgent transnational issues - be it terrorism, be it pandemics, be it energy security or be it the environment".

He also said that forces of intolerance and extremism cannot be allowed to distract attention from vital concerns.

"If NAM is to be relevant in today's circumstances, it cannot afford to equivocate on the subject of terrorism. A message must emanate from us that we are united in our desire and determination to fight and eliminate the scourge of terrorism. We cannot allow the forces of intolerance and of

extremism to distract the world's attention from the vital concerns of our people - the problems of mass poverty, ignorance and disease which still afflicts millions and millions of people in developed world," he said on Friday. The Prime Minister called upon the member nations to come together to achieve universal nuclear disarmament.

"In 1988 Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had presented to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) a detailed and credible Action Plan for Nuclear Disarmament. I believe the time has come for NAM to once again assume an active and leading role in advocating nuclear disarmament. India has prepared a Working Paper on Nuclear Disarmament, which will be circulated as a document at the UNGA Session this year. We would invite fellow members of NAM to join us in our efforts to achieve universal nuclear disarmament and a world free of all nuclear weapons," he said.

Recalling the words of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the First World Summit on Environment that "there is no first, second or third world; we are all part of One World" and that the NAM should take a lead in articulating a "new paradigm of energy security", that addresses the needs

of all peoples and of our planet as a whole, Dr. Singh said "India proposes the establishment of a NAM Working Group on Energy Security to draw up a NAM Action Plan for Energy Security to address the energy challenges of the future. India would be prepared to coordinate such a group".

NAM members constitute more than half of the membership of the United Nations, Dr. Singh said, adding "Our collective strength is unmatched, and we must now unite behind a common and a fundamentally new vision of "inclusive globalisation".

Observing that African countries form the largest single grouping in NAM as well as in the United Nations General Assembly, he said, "The future of our planet is inextricably linked to the destiny of Africa".

"I believe this is an opportune time for us to take a major NAM initiative on Africa. The NAM initiative would focus on human resource and agricultural development. It would involve setting up of a mechanism, in cooperation with the African Union, to pool our assets for investment in the future of

Africa. We would be prepared to work together with other interested NAM countries on elaborating the NAM Initiative on Africa" he added. 




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