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India, Pakistan to set up anti-terror mechanism

By V S Chandrasekar and D D Gupta
September 17, 2006 00:43 IST
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Taking a significant step to build trust, India and Pakistan today decided to set up a joint anti-terrorism institutional mechanism and agreed to resume the foreign secretary-level talks soon.

After an hour-long meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Havana, the two sides emphasised that the peace process must be maintained and its "success was important" for both the countries and the future of the region.

A Joint Statement issued after the meeting said the two countries will continue search for "mutually-acceptable options" for a "peaceful negotiated settlement of all issues, including Kashmir, in a sincere and purposeful manner."

The two leaders, who met in the aftermath of the Mumbai blasts which led to a chill in the bilateral ties, "strongly condemned all acts of terrorism".

Agreeing that terrorism is a scourge that needs to be dealt with, Singh and Musharraf decided to put in place an "India-Pakistan anti-terrorism institutional mechanism to identify and implement counter-terrorism initiatives and investigations."

The decision to set up the new mechanism comes on the heels of India asking Pakistan to take concrete action on the ground to stop terrorism emanating from that country if it wanted the peace process to move forward.

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V S Chandrasekar and D D Gupta