M A I N   N E W S

CCS okays blueprint for talks with Pakistan
T.R Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 9
The Cabinet Committee on Security at its meeting today approved the broad contours of the upcoming Indo-Pakistan Foreign Secretary level talks scheduled to be held here on November 14 and 15 encompassing the understanding reached between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Gen Pervez Musharraf for an anti-terrorism mechanism on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Havana, Cuba.

"The CCS broadly approved the approach at these talks," Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told mediapersons here.

The meeting also worked out the strategy to be adopted for the technical level talks pertaining to the joint survey of the Sir Creek region by the two countries.

Clearly, the Congress-led UPA Government accords priority to evolving an anti-terrorism mechanism by providing evidence of terror outfits aided and abetted by Pakistan being involved in planned violence be it the serial bomb blasts in the Mumbai suburban trains or planning acts of terror through sleeper modules in other parts of the country.

The law and order machinery has made arrests in the western and southern parts of the country and evidence gleaned so far points to the alleged involvement of the powerful Inter-State Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.

Authoritative sources said all other issues or just about everything else would also be on the table during the Foreign Secretary level talks. At the same time there are possibilities of Pakistan side taking up the issue of forging a joint anti-terrorism mechanism on one pretext or another and returning to its pet theme of seeking to focus attention on the Kashmir problem.

Clearly, the leadership believes that in such complex negotiations there can be no startling results and the movement forward can only be incremental. More importantly the two sides have to find common ground to move forward.

The bottom line is that India will prefer a small and efficient anti-terrorism mechanism rather than an unwieldy one which renders the whole exercise infructuous.

The effort will be to get the joint anti-terrorism mechanism with all other agencies concerned feeding it in place as early as possible.

Despite frequent talk emanating from Pakistan of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visiting the neighbouring country soon, sources were categoric that it was not on the cards.



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