Pak has vowed to end terror, says Manmohan
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Pak has vowed to end terror, says Manmohan

He says Musharraf has committed to do everything in his control to contain the scourge. Your take? | Pics

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 03:16 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that President Pervez Musharraf had assured him "Pakistan has no hand" in perpetuating recent terror acts in India and had given an "explicit commitment" to work with India "to do all that is in their control to control the scourge".

Talking to journalists accompanying him while returning from Havana, where he met Musharraf, the prime minister said the "new mechanism" between the two countries to deal with terrorism was a "new beginning" and he was "very pleased" with the outcome of the discussions.

"I hope it works, but if it does not work, then also we have to deal with the consequences," he said.

The two leaders issued a Joint Statement at the end of their talks in Havana - their fourth meeting in two years - which directed their foreign secretaries to resume their composite dialogue and to put in place an India-Pakistan anti-terrorism institutional mechanism to identify and implement counter-terrorism initiatives and investigations.

"Well, it is quite obvious to Pakistan that things cannot be business as usual if terrorism is not under control or if the government of Pakistan is seen not to be willing to work with us to control terrorism," Manmohan Singh said.

He said he welcomed this commitment and this had been reiterated in the Joint Statement issued after their talks.

Asked whether his talks had bridged the trust deficit between the countries that he had talked about, the prime minister replied:It is not a one-day process...we have to do business with our neighbours. General Musharraf, he is the ruler of Pakistan and therefore we have to learn to deal with him."

Manmohan Singh angrily rejected a suggestion that the deal with Musharraf was at the US behest. "I totally deny any insinuation that whatever was done with Pakistan is at the behest of the US or any other country. It is a question of our own sovereign national interest."

On Kashmir, he said there was a sincere and frank discussion on all issues. He said there was need for a "via media" to reconcile Indian and Pakistani positions on this - while Manmohan Singh had said earlier that borders cannot be withdrawn, Musharraf had stated that the Line of Control in Kashmir cannot be a permanent solution.

He described the Joint Statement as an "advance" and said his meeting was "very frank, very crucial, there was no tension and I was very pleased with the outcome."

Denying that the agreement with Pakistan amounted to a shift in the Indian stand, the prime minister said the anti-terrorism mechanism was among the opportunities being explored to tackle the problem of terror. "We should toss all balls in quest of a safe and secure life for our citizens."

First Published: Sep 18, 2006 00:00 IST