Manmohan, Zaradari decide to take on terrorism, agree to open up trade routes

September 25th, 2008 - 8:18 am ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh

By Naveen Kapoor New York, Sept.25 (ANI): Deeply hurt by the recent bombings in India and Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday evening decided that their respective governments will take the menace head on. Dr. Singh, in particular, took a strong stand against terrorism during their meeting in New York on the sidelines of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly. A joint statement issued by both leaders stated: “Violence, hostility and terrorism have no place in the bilateral relationship and must be visibly and verifiably prevented.” The Indian Prime Minister also raised the issue of the July 7, 2008 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul with President Zardari. Both leaders acknowledged that the India-Pakistan peace process, which has entered its fifth round, has been under strain in recent months and decided to call a special meeting of the Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism next month. Reading out the joint statement to reporters here, Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said: “Both countries agree to take severe action against any elements directing or involved in terrorist acts.” The two leaders also pledged to defeat forces that were trying to derail the peace process. President Zardari reassured Dr. Singh that the Government of Pakistan stands by its commitment of January 6, 2004 in which former President General Pervez Musharraf had promised former Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on the sidelines of the 12th SAARC Summit that Pakistan would not allow its land to be used for anti-India or terror-related activities. Giving a new impetus to existing confidence building measures, both countries have decided to commence cross-border trade along the Line of Control (LOC) through the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and the Poonch-Rawalakot routes from October 21, 2008. Modalities for the opening of the Skardu-Kargil route would also be discussed soon, the joint statement said. India and Pakistan also decided to open the Wagah Attari road link and Khokrapar-Munabao rail route to all permissible items of trade. The Zardari-Manmohan Singh meeting went on for over an hour and was marked by a warm hug and a long handshake. At the first instance, Zardari described Singh as the “Father of Modern India”. Singh replied that he shared Zardari’’s vision for a better and improved South Asia to which Zardari said: “It is Benazir’’s Wisdom.” Singh congratulated Zardari on his election as president and hailed the victory of democracy in Pakistan. (ANI)

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