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Visa pact inked; but concern on terror remains

world Updated: Sep 08, 2012 21:09 IST

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India and Pakistan on Saturday finally made progress on people-to people contact by inking pacts on a new visa regime and cultural exchanges but there was no headway on New Delhi's concerns on the Mumbai terror attacks case, with Islamabad only assuring that it will bring to book the perpetrators as per its law.

Despite the reiteration of an invitation by Pakistan's top leadership for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit, India remained non-committal on the timing of the trip with external affairs minister SM Krishna saying that a "proper atmosphere" and a "worthwhile" outcome was necessary.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari announced immediate release of all Indian fishermen, including those who have not completed their prison terms, terming it as a "goodwill gesture" to mark Krishna's visit.

Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar reviewed the last round of talks on all bilateral issues, including, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and Siachen and chalked out the roadmap for future round of discussions. The two ministers also chaired the Joint Commission Meeting.

After the talks, Krishna drove to Interior Ministry to ink the new visa pact with Rehman Malik, who termed the signing of the pact as a "positive development" and a "gesture of friendship" from Pakistan.

At a joint press interaction, Khar, who spoke first, made no reference to terrorism in her over 15-minute opening statement but Krishna said both sides agreed that terror continues to pose a threat to peace and security.

In this regard, he said, Pakistan has reiterated its commitment to bring 26/11 perpetrators to justice expeditiously as per the Pakistani law.

Responding to a repeated question on the timing of keenly-awaited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Pakistan, Krishna said,"I am hopeful that the visit will take place" but when it will happen he cannot commit.