India pushes for 26/11 CBM, Pakistan rejects state role (Evening Lead)

July 5th, 2012 - 6:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) India Thursday pressed Pakistan to bring to justice those guilty of the 26/11 attack and said it could be the biggest confidence building measure (CBM) as Islamabad strongly rejected any role of state actors in the carnage and offered a joint probe.

The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, Ranjan Mathai and Jalil Abbas Jilani, wrapped up two days of talks on peace and security, including CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir as well as the promotion of friendly exchanges.

The talks, which ended Thursday, “were held in a frank and constructive atmosphere”, said a joint statement.

Issues thrown up by the disclosures made by 26/11 plotter Abu Jindal Hamza, which India said point to the involvement of Pakistani state actors in the Nov 26, 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, figured prominently in the discussions.

India shared information on Jindal’s disclosures and pressed Islamabad to bring the perpetrators of the carnage to justice.

“Terrorism is the biggest threat to peace and security in the region, and bringing the guilty to justice in the Mumbai terror attacks would be the biggest confidence building measure of all,” said Mathai.

“The arrest of Abu Jindal has added an urgency to the matter. We will continue to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion,” he said.

In response, Jilani said while terrorism was a common enemy of both India and Pakistan, “trading charges will not help”.

Jilani refuted India’s accusation of the involvement of Pakistani state agencies in the Mumbai terror engineered by 10 Pakistanis that left 166 people, including many foreigners, dead and 238 injured.

“I strongly reject any insinuation of any involvement of state agencies in any act of terrorism in India,” Jilani replied when asked about Jindal’s disclosures.

“I assured him (Mathai) that whatever evidence India has, the entire evidence should be shared. We are even willing for a joint investigation into the matter,” said Jilani.

“Whenever we are faced with terrorism, we should intensify cooperation. In case there are certain gaps, we should fill those gaps in the spirit of cooperation,” Jilani said while calling for greater cooperation between the home ministries and respective agencies of the two countries.

Despite differences in perceptions on the issue of terrorism, the two countries decided to pursue the dialogue and stressed on enhancing bilateral trade that could produce win-win outcomes.

“While we might not agree on all issues, we do agree that relations between our two countries have to be normalised. There is a determination on both sides to take forward our dialogue with an open mind and a constructive spirit,” said Mathai.

Stressing that Jindal’s revelations do not constitute a setback to the revived peace process, Jilani underlined that the two countries have to “move from an adversarial relationship to a positive narrative”.

“There is absolutely no setback; the setback is not what we can afford,” Jilani replied when asked whether Jindal’s revelations were a setback to the peace process.

“We have positively assessed the dialogue process. We have made significant progress in all areas.”

Agreed Mathai: “We have made progress in people-to-people relations and trade. The forward movement on trade is a win-win outcome. We plan to move forward on the trade track.”

The two sides discussed the Jammu and Kashmir issue and agreed to find a peaceful solution “by narrowing divergences and building convergences”.

In this context, both sides discussed strengthening CBMs to step up trade and travel across the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir and decided to convene a meeting of the working group on cross-LoC CBMs July 19 in Islamabad.

The foreign secretaries also discussed the date for the visit of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to Islamabad.

The foreign secretaries will meet again in Islamabad to prepare for the meeting of foreign ministers in September.

Krishna Thursday said he hopes to visit Islamabad in the first week of September for talks with his Pakistani counterpart.

The two countries also discussed revival of cricketing ties and focused on enhancing sports and media exchanges.

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