NEW DEHLI: India and Pakistan have agreed to set up a “hotline” to share information about militants, a joint statement said on Tuesday after talks between their home secretaries in New Delhi.
“Both sides agreed to set up a hotline between the home secretary of India and the interior secretary of Pakistan to facilitate real-time information sharing with respect to terrorist threats,” said the statement.
“Both sides reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirm the need to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice,” it added.
The home secretaries from the two nations met in New Delhi on Monday and Tuesday to discuss counter-terrorism, the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the drugs trade in talks that are part of a formal peace process re-starting between the neighbours.
India on Monday hailed the talks as “extremely positive” with both countries looking to build on a recent warming in relations brought on by some successful “cricket diplomacy”.
The two countries also, for the first time officially, shared material on the Samjhota Express attacks and the Mumbai attacks.
The information shared included court proceedings and investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies of both countries.
Pakistan also agreed to allow a visit by Indian investigators as part of their probe into the Mumbai attacks.
India has long sought permission to have its investigators visit Pakistan to help their inquiries into the attacks.
A joint statement did not elaborate when the visit to Pakistan would take place. Dates for a visit of a Pakistani delegation to India in connection with the Mumbai attacks would be decided within 4-6 weeks, according to the statement.
Both the secretaries also agreed to cooperate on maritime issues and to stop the cross-border movement of narcotics.
Foreign office press release on Pak-India talks
1. The India-Pakistan Home/Interior Secretary level Talks were held in New Delhi on March 28-29, 2011. The Indian delegation was led by Shri Gopal K. Pillai, Home Secretary of India, while the Pakistan delegation was headed by Mr. Qamar Zaman Chaudhary, Interior Secretary of Pakistan.
2. The meeting was held in pursuance of the decision taken in Thimphu (Bhutan) in February 2011 by the Governments of Pakistan and India, to resume the dialogue process and in the backdrop of Bilateral meeting between the Home Minister of India and the Interior Minister of Pakistan held in Islamabad on June 25-26, 2010.
3. The meeting was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere.
4. Both sides exchanged views on the decisions taken in the last round of Talks held in Islamabad in 2008. It was agreed that it was important for both sides to remain engaged on outstanding issues and henceforth the Home/Interior Secretary level Talks would be held bi-annually.
5. Both sides agreed to set up a Hotline between Home Secretary of India and Interior Secretary of Pakistan to facilitate real time information sharing with respect to terrorist threats.
6. Both sides reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirmed the need to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice.
7. Pakistani side provided updates on the ongoing trial and investigation in Pakistan on the Mumbai Terror Attacks. Pakistan conveyed its readiness, in principle, based upon the principle of comity and reciprocity, to entertain a Commission from India with respect to Mumbai Terror Attack investigations. Modalities and composition in this connection will be worked out through diplomatic channels. Dates for the visit of the Judicial Commission from Pakistan in connection with Mumbai attack trial will be conveyed by India within four-six weeks. NIA and FIA will continue to cooperate in the Mumbai Terror Attack investigations.
8. India provided information on the on-going Samjhautha Express blast case investigation. It was also agreed that after filing of report in the court, updated information will be shared with the concerned Pakistan authorities.
9. Both sides noted and welcomed the release of prisoners and fishermen by each other since the last round of Talks. It was agreed that both sides would release by April 15, 2011 those civilian prisoners/fishermen who have completed their sentence, whose nationality status has been confirmed by the respective Governments and whose travel documents have been received. Complete list of prisoners in each others’ custody will be exchanged by both sides on July 1, 2011.
10. Both sides agreed that the problem and issues of the inadvertent crossers should be viewed sympathetically, and in a focused and sensitive manner. Accordingly, both sides also agreed to task the Coast Guard of India and Pakistan Maritime Security Agency to work on setting up a mechanism for release of inadvertent crossers (fishermen) and their boats on the same lines as the inadvertent crossers on land. The Group will submit its report to the Home/Interior Secretaries before the next round of Talks.
11. Both sides commended the work done by the Judicial Committee on Prisoners for the release, repatriation and humane treatment of prisoners and agreed on the need for its continuation. The next meeting of the Judicial Committee would be held from April 19-23, 2011 in Pakistan.
12. Both sides shared the concern of the growing menace of Narcotics/Drugs and agreed that cooperation between NCB of India and ANF of Pakistan should be enhanced to ensure an effective control on drug trafficking. It was further agreed that Talks between DG, NCB and DG, ANF would be held annually. Indian side accepted the invitation for DG NCB to visit Pakistan in May 2011 for talks with DG, ANF.
13. The ‘MoU on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics Drugs/Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals and related matters’ as finalized will be formally signed at the next DG level meeting of NCB-ANF in May 2011.
14. It was decided that CBI and FIA will schedule a meeting to work out the technical details of moving forward on issues of, human trafficking, counterfeit currency, cyber crimes and Red Corner Notices (RCNs).
15. Both sides agreed to set up a Joint Working Group to examine the modalities for streamlining the visa procedure/modalities and for giving a final shape to revision of the Bilateral Visa Agreement.
16. The Interior Secretary of Pakistan invited the Home Secretary of India for the next Home/Interior Secretary level Talks in Pakistan. The invitation was accepted.
17. Both sides agreed that the visit of the Interior Minister of Pakistan to India will take place on mutually convenient dates, to be decided through diplomatic channels.