Days after the Jaipur blasts, India and Pakistan renewed their resolve to fight terrorism and said they would do everything it takes to wipe it out. They agreed that their anti-terror mechanism would meet before the fifth round of composite dialogue commences in July.
<b1>Using stronger language than before, a joint statement said on Wednesday, “Both sides reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and re-emphasised the need for the complete elimination of this menace… both sides agreed to refrain from hostile propaganda.”
In first contact with the leadership of the new dispensation in Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee found a “strong willingness” on the Pakistani side to move ahead with improving bilateral ties. “I am going back with a sense of satisfaction.”
At a joint press conference with his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Mukherjee pointed out that India and China had been able to take huge strides in their economic ties without resolving their boundary issue. He said Delhi and Islamabad could advance in some areas of their relationship even as they addressed more difficult issues. “One is not at the cost of the other,” he said.
The statements follow the May 14 terror attack in Jaipur, in which groups based outside India were suspected of carrying out explosions that killed 66 people.
The Pakistani foreign minister said the situation had improved considerably on both sides of the Line of Control as far as the infiltration of terrorists was concerned. On Pakistan handing over Dawood Ibrahim to India, he said the issue did not come up during talks with Mukherjee. He said Pakistan was open to “innovative ideas” on resolving the Kashmir issue when asked whether the government remained committed to the four-point approach suggested by President Pervez Musharraf.
Qureshi said Pakistan was ready for a “grand reconciliation” with India, but gave no details. He is set to visit India in June and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will travel to Pakistan before the year is out.