India, Pakistan agree to 'terror hotline'

Published: March 29, 2011

India's home secretary G. K. Pillai (R) shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Qamar Zaman before the start of the Indo-Pak secretary level talks in New Delhi March 28, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

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.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Hedgefunder
    Mar 29, 2011 - 2:39PM

    Hot line ! For what? to listen to B*LST, and denials about non state actors!!!!!!
    This is a complete waste of time for India.
    Leave pakistan to its own devices and it will disintegrate from within in due course!!!!
    They certainly are on the that track at present considering their economic outlook, internal politics and foreign policy!!! they are not too far from achieving that goal.
    Unfortunately the masses in the country can not see it yet! when they do it will be too late, so once more the blame game will begin, accusing everyone on the planet for their problems.Recommend

  • Jaffar
    Mar 29, 2011 - 3:47PM

    @Hedgefunder:
    Negative person shows negative remarks. They pointed out only some working areas. They should prepare some action plans.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Mar 29, 2011 - 3:51PM

    This is India who blamed Pakistan for all his security lacks.Recommend

  • Ashwin
    Mar 29, 2011 - 4:19PM

    good step forward positive hopefully there terror attacks originating from Pakistan.sorry for the for negative thought it is factRecommend

  • Abdul Ali
    Mar 29, 2011 - 4:21PM

    Very positive steps.
    Both sides have moved forward on a number of issues.
    The Visa protocol issue needs to be fast tracked.Recommend

  • Pravin
    Mar 29, 2011 - 5:01PM

    Sounds good!
    Nice baby steps. Bigger steps are possible if we build the trust through these small steps.Recommend

  • vasan
    Mar 29, 2011 - 5:43PM

    Good show ; Congrats Home secretaries..Recommend

  • Cautious
    Mar 29, 2011 - 7:23PM

    Positive step – but doesn’t address the core issue – so long as elements of the Pakistan govt use terrorist to further their objectives all the hot lines in the World are not going to resolve this conflict.Recommend

  • Singh
    Mar 29, 2011 - 7:43PM

    HF,
    People like you take comfort on other people suffring. On ther side of border people are just like us. they are also tired by every day killing & bombing. It is common people who are dying or suffering with hunger. I have lot of friend from Pakistan here in US. They feel the same pain when killing happen on either side of border. Can you live & sleep peacefully when your neighbours are dying. What kind of thinking it is. Do you learn this from your your selfish upbringing. Remeber you reap what you sow. Some where we have to learn peacefully. Why not in our lifetime.Recommend

  • Kamal
    Mar 29, 2011 - 8:03PM

    @Singh..Nobody wants war or bad relation with neighbours but sitting in some foreign country you won’nt understand how it feel when you neighbour send militant to kill your people.You should feel the pain and frustration before giving lecture.Recommend

  • sundar
    Mar 29, 2011 - 8:30PM

    @Kamal:
    Your frustration makes sense. But how does refusing to engage with your adversary going to solve the problem? I do not think the common Pakistanis enjoy or even aware their army is sending terrorists across the border to keep alive the enmity. I understand people are indoctrinated from the childhood. My personal opinion is to keep talking with the civilian govt. however impotent they are, people to people contact, army to army contact. The change may not happen overnight but I am optimistic. I have been to Pakistan during my sailing days, found the people just like us, quite friendly and very hospitable. Even this hotline or cricket diplomacy bound to fail if Pakistan army is not onboard. That doesn’t mean we should shut the door and be eternal enemies. Recommend

  • Kamal
    Mar 29, 2011 - 10:02PM

    @Sundar..we tried many times..result Kargil,Mumbai.Not again,no way.Now talk will happen only for talk.We do’nt believe Pakistan.Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Mar 29, 2011 - 10:20PM

    @Kamal:
    We just have to sit it out for few years and this problem will disappear, from inside with the problems these guys face its going to be tall order to recover!! Furthermore we know they will never reverse the trend regarding their activities! Its really not their fault its just the way they are!!!!!Recommend

  • Ravi
    Mar 29, 2011 - 10:52PM

    @Kamal:
    Don’t worry another kargil mumbai or bangalore blast is on the corner my friend .
    Let that happen and pakistani leadership will be playing their usual record of “non state actors”.Recommend

  • J.Oberoi
    Mar 30, 2011 - 7:08AM

    My question is, does this “hotline” have the blessings of the ISI and the military? Otherwise, it is useless. Unlike India, Pakistan’s military establishment controls this process. In the past, there is always a terror incident when Pak-India start to make progress and there is peace when the two nations are not on talking terms.
    I guess, that’s the reason why Indians are more worried about peace talks.Recommend

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