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India promises Pak to hunt down blast perpetrators

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 21, 2007 16:09 IST
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India on Wednesday assured Pakistan that it will make every effort to bring the perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express blasts to justice.

"The Government of India will make every effort to bring to justice these perpetrators of this heinous act," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at a joint press conference with his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid M Kasuri.

After the fifth meeting of the Indo-Pak Joint Commission, the two sides signed an agreement on reducing the risk of accidents relating to nuclear weapons in the presence of the ministers.

Mukherjee said that holding of Joint Commission meeting reaffirmed the commitment of the two countries to carry forward the dialogue process.

Mukherjee expressed hope that the fourth round of composite dialogue process in Islamabad on March 13 and 14 between the foreign secretaries of the two countries would help further promote bilateral relations.

Reviewing the progress under the Joint Commission, he said that the joint survey of the Sir Creek, a marshy area along Indo-Pak border in the Gujarat region said to be rich in hydrocarbons, was progressing smoothly.

He said the Joint Anti-terror mechanism meeting in Islamabad on March 6 would be meaningful.

Kasuri told reporters that the purpose of the meeting was to further the peace process.

India had reacted positively to his suggestion that both countries have agreed to appoint retired judges to look into the human rights issue, he said.

The Pakistan Foreign Minister said the priority was to secure the release of those who have completed their sentences.

While Pakistan has come out with names of four judges for the purpose, Kasuri said Mukherjee told him that New Delhi also had some names in mind for the purpose and it was a matter of few days before the matter is finalised.

Kasuri thanked the Indian doctors whom he said had provided timely medical attention for the Pakistani and other victims of the Samjhauta train blast.

India also ruled out a joint investigation as suggested by Pakistan and said information regarding the probe will be shared with Islamabad when the anti-terror mechanism meets.

Mukherjee said he handed over to Kasuri a list of relatives of missing Indian prisoners of war wanting to visit Pakistan.

He said Islamabad had agreed to receive them during his visit to that country.

Referring to the progress under the Joint Commission, he said the deliberations would lead to greater bilateral cooperation and provide a structure for improving the relations between two countries.

He said the reports of eight working groups set up under the commission after its October 2005 meeting were discussed during the meeting.

The groups were on agriculture, health, science and technology, environment, education, tourism, IT and telecommunication.

Kasuri said protection of tourists from both countries was important for sustaining the peace process.

He suggested that railway authorities of the two countries interact with each other in this regard to ensure the safety of tourists to the maximum possible extent.

"If we wish to promote tourism, we have to take steps to protect the tourists," Kasuri remarked.

Mukherjee recalled that tourists visas were part of discussion he had with Pakistan during his last visit there.

The Indian government, he added, was examining the draft proposal it had received on the matter from Pakistan.

He also asserted that both countries aim to encourage tourism.

Both leaders also noted that there had been nine rounds of discussions on Siachen.

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