The anti-terrorism panel set up by India and Pakistan last year is scheduled to hold its first meeting on March 6 in Islamabad.
The panel's mandate, according to an official statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday, is "to identify and implement counter-terrorism initiatives and investigations."
The three-member Indian delegation traveling to Islamabad for the joint panel's first formal talks on March 6 and 7 will be headed by KC Singh, additional secretary (International Organisations) in the MEA. The other members, according to officials, are LC Goyal, joint secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs and an official from the Intelligence Bureau.
The idea to set up such a panel emerged at a meeting on September 16 last year, between Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in Havana. They decided to set up a 'joint anti-terror mechanism' to help bring down the volume of distrust between the two countries, by cooperating to share information and prevent acts of terrorism.
The meeting, on the sidelines of the summit of Non-Aligned nations, was their first since the devastating July 11, 2006 serial attacks on Mumbai's suburban rail network, in which close to 190 people were killed. India, tacitly blaming Pakistan for the blasts, had pulled out of the bilateral peace dialogue immediately after the blasts.
Speaking about the mechanism, the Prime Minister said, "we will discuss all these issues (including the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan). Let's not jump the cue, let this mechanism be in place, we will explore all the ways with which we can rid the sub-continent of the scourge of terrorism."
"There is no doubt in our minds as to what constitutes terrorism and it is clear that the group is mandated to address all forms of terrorism," MEA spokesman Navtej Sarna said shortly after the decision was announced.