India, Pakistan to fight terror in ‘new era’ of ties (Lead)

July 27th, 2011 - 6:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) The resumed peace process between India and Pakistan represented a “new era” of ties, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said Wednesday, as the two countries agreed to fight terrorism and unveiled a series of Kashmir-related confidence building measures (CBMs).

“This is indeed the new era of bilateral cooperation,” Khar said at a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna standing next to her.

Khar, the new and youngest foreign minister of Pakistan, said her country was committed to the peace process and that “it is the desire of both the governments, to make it an uninterrupted and an uninterruptable process”.

Krishna also spoke positively at the media conference held after the meeting between the two leaders that lasted for about two-and-a-half hours.

He said he was satisfied with the resumption of the peace process that was stalled after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack by 10 Pakistani terrorists that killed 166 people, including foreigners.

“We have agreed that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security and reiterate the firm and undiluted commitment of our two countries to fight and eliminate this scourge in all forms,” Krishna said.

“We have also agreed the need to strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism to bring those responsible for terror crimes to justice.”

A joint statement specifying measures the two sides have broadly agreed on was released after the talks.

They agreed to simplify travel procedures and increase the frequency of bus services for people of the divided Jammu and Kashmir across the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border that divides the state between the two countries.

“Travel would be expanded on both sides of the LoC,” the statement said, adding that travel across the divided territory would now “include visits for tourism and religious pilgrimage”.

Earlier, the bus service was only for families that separated after the 1947 war during which Pakistan occupied a portion of Jammu and Kashmir.

They also decided to relax travel permit conditions by having a system of six-month multiple entry. The validity of the entry permit till now was for four weeks.

On the broader issue of Jammu and Kashmir — which the two countries claim in full but rule in parts — the two leaders decided to keep talking.

“On Jammu and Kashmir, we will continue discussion with a view to find a peaceful solution by narrowing down divergences and building convergences,” Krishna said.

Other issues that two leaders agreed to move on include convening separate meetings of the expert groups on nuclear and conventional CBMs in Islamabad in September.

They emphasised the importance of early establishment of a non-discriminatory trade regime between the two countries, including reduction or removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers.

The ministers agreed that discussions would continue on Siachen, Wullar barrage navigation project and Sir Creek to find a mutually acceptable solution.

“They reiterated their commitment to seeking early and amicable solutions to all these issues,” the joint statement said.

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