No K-parleys under shadow of gun: India

Islamabad wants collaborative approach towards terrorism

No K-parleys under shadow of gun: India

India on Friday made it clear to Pakistan that resolution of the Kashmir issue cannot take place under the “shadow of gun” as the two countries concluded “satisfactory” talks which resulted in agreement on various confidence-bu­il­d­ing measures (CBMs).

Two days of talks between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her counterpart Sa­lman Bashir ended here on a positive note paving the way for discussions between the foreign ministers of the two co­u­ntries in New Delhi next month.

India pressed for a “satisfactory closure” of the trial in Pakistan of the Mumbai terror attack accused, saying it would help in normalisation of ties. Pakistan wanted terrorism issue to be addressed in a “collaborative” manner.
At a joint press conference at the Pakistan Foreign Office, Rao and Bashir struck a positive tone describing their discussions as “very constructive and purposeful”.

Various nuclear and conventional CBMs were discussed during the talks and it was agreed to convene separate expert-level meetings on these subjects to strengthen the existing arrangements and consider additional measures later this year.  Both sides agreed to convene a meeting of the Working Group on Cross-LoC CBMs to recommend measures for strengthening and streamlining the existing trade and travel arrangements across the LoC and propose modalities for introducing additional Cross-LoC CBMs. The group will meet next month.

Rao made a pointed reference to the need to do away with “shadow of the gun and extremist violence” while dealing with the “complex issue” of Jammu and Kashmir.
She said: “I think we have to make peace and reconciliation step by step...We must do away with the shadow of gun and extremist violence because it is only in an atmosphere free of terror and violence that can we discuss resolution of such a complex issue.”

‘Vocabulary of peace’

The foreign secretary also said the “unleashing of violence” should end as “military conflict” has no space in 21st century. It should be replaced by a “vocabulary of peace” for resolution of issues in an atmosphere “free from terror and violence”.

Bashir said the two sides made their “well known” positions on the Kashmir issue, nonetheless they agreed to continue discussions to find a common ground.

It did not mean that anybody has changed the position, he said. “We have tried to move forward,” he added. The joint statement said the foreign secretaries exchanged views on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions in a “purposeful and forward-looking manner with a view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences”.

Referring to cross-LoC CBMs, Bashir said that these were aimed at creating “more comfort and relief” to Jammu and Kashmir.

Replying to a question to whether India raised the issue of 26/11 probe and trial in Pakistan, Rao said “obviously the issue is of  critical importance (to India).” She said the issue has been discussed at Home Secretary level meetings and she followed it up.

Bashir also said Pakistan understands concerns in India on the Mumbai attack issue but added that terrorism in generic sense poses threat to both the countries.

“It needs to be eliminated in a collaborative approach,” he said.

To a question by a Pakistani journalist on the Samjhauta blast case, Rao said India had promised to “share the outcome” once the investigations were over. The joint statement said the two countries also discussed measures for promoting cooperation in various fields including, facilitating visits to religious shrines, media exchanges, holding of sports tournaments and cessation of hostile propaganda against each other.

Rao said the two sides discussed all aspects of cross-LoC CBMs including the number of trading days and points, banking facilities and more transport linkages. The joint statement said the foreign secretaries will meet again in New Delhi on a date to be decided through diplomatic channels to prepare for the meeting of the Foreign Ministers.

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