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Anti-terror mechanism switched on

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 01:46 IST
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Pakistan given evidence of its terror role, Mumbai discussed

India and Pakistan agreed on Wednesday to set up an official three-member anti-terror mechanism, that will function as the nodal point through which all future cross-border cooperation on counter-terrorism will be routed. Such a mechanism was first mooted at the Havana summit between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in September.

The official delegations led by foreign secretaries Shivshankar Menon and Riaz Mohammad Khan also agreed to meet in Islamabad in February to start the fourth round of the eight-point composite dialogue process.

The setting up of the joint mechanism was the key decision arrived at after two days of discussions between the delegations. It will be headed by K.C. Singh, additional secretary (International Organisations) from the Indian side, and Tariq Osman Haider, additional secretary (United Nations and European Commission) on the Pakistani side. Its mandate will be to consider counter-terrorism measures, through the "regular and timely" sharing of information.

Indian concerns about “cross-border linkages” in acts of terrorism were discussed at length, after which India handed over “some material” related to terrorist incidents in Varanasi, New Delhi and Mysore over the past year.

The “material” did not relate to the Mumbai serial bombings of July 11, said Khan, adding that it would be examined by Pakistani experts.

Material evidence on the Mumbai blasts was not handed over because the “legal processes” in India were not complete. The chargesheets were yet to be filed, Menon clarified.

The Mumbai incident was, however, raised verbally, and Indian concerns were made amply clear to Pakistan.

Talks on Siachen focused on “what worries us”, Menon said, acknowledging that “there is still a gap in positions that needs to be bridged”.

"Fears and apprehensions (on the Siachen positions) sometimes become shadows,” responded Khan, which came in the way of resolving the issue.