India and Pakistan on Thursday agreed not to link the composite dialogue to action on terrorism as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh elicited a promise from his counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani that Islambad would “do everything in its power” to punish perpetrators of 26/11 attack.
In a joint statement issued after about two-hour-long talks between Singh and Gilani here, the two sides agreed to “create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence” and resolved to eliminate the factors that prevent the two neighbours from realising the full potential in their ties.
During the talks that focussed on terrorism against the backdrop of Mumbai attack, the two sides also decided to share “real-time, credible and actionable information on any future terror threats”.
“Both Prime Ministers recognised that dialogue is the only way forward... Action on terrorism should not be linked to the composite dialogue process and these should not be bracketed,” the statement said.
"Both leaders agreed that terrorism is the main threat to both countries. Both leaders affirmed their resolve to fight terrorism and to cooperate with each other to this end,“ the joint statement said.
Singh underlined that India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including the outstanding ones.
Gilani described the meeting as a “major breakthrough”.
During the talks, Singh emphasised the need for ensuring that perpetrators of Mumbai attacks are brought to justice. Responding to this, Gilani assured Singh that Pakistan would do “everything in its power” in this regard.
Gilani noted that Pakistan has provided an updated status dossier on the investigations of the Mumbai attacks and had sought additional information or evidence.
Singh said the dossier is being reviewed.
Significantly, the joint statement also mentioned Pakistan’s concerns over terrorism in Balochistan, for which it blames India.
“Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas,” it said.
During the "cordial and constructive meeting", Singh and Gilani considered the entire gamut of bilateral relations with a view to charting the way forward the ties, the statement said.
“Both leaders agreed that the real challenge is development and the elimination of poverty. Both leaders resolved to eliminate those factors which prevent our countries from realizing their full potential,” it said.
Singh and Gilani agreed that Foreign Secretaries should meet as often as necessary and report to the two Foreign Ministers who will be meeting on the sidelines of the forthcoming UN General Assembly.
Singh also reiterated India’s interest in a stable, democratic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.