Talks set stage for various areas of cooperation

Updated - November 17, 2021 03:55 am IST

Published - March 30, 2011 03:12 am IST - NEW DELHI:

A joint statement issued at the end of the two-day Home/Interior Secretary level talks between India and Pakistan here on Tuesday flagged various areas of cooperation, including countering drug and human trafficking, streamlining visa procedure, fake currency, cyber crimes and maritime cooperation.

India provided information on the ongoing probe into the Samjhauta Express blast. It was also agreed that after filing the report in the court, updated information will be shared with the Pakistani authorities concerned.

On the issue of providing India voice samples of alleged masterminds of the attack, sources said Pakistani officials had said that a lower court had rejected their case in this regard. An appeal had been filed with the High Court and a positive outcome was expected, the Indian delegation was told.

The statement said both the 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.

Official sources indicated that a proposal had been put forth to relax norms for issuance of visa to journalists, businessmen, senior citizens and patients coming for medical treatment.

The Indian side also proposed to relax norms for people who have a valid visa and want to travel again within the span of two years, by removing time-consuming security background check process, which is done from here.

The Indian High Commission in Pakistan will be empowered to issue necessary permissions to such travellers, the sources said. The delegations also 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,” the statement said.

Both sides 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 those civilian prisoners/fishermen who had completed their sentence and whose nationality status had been confirmed by the governments and whose travel documents had been received. A complete list of prisoners in each other's custody would be exchanged by both sides on July 1, 2011, the statement said.

Inadvertent crossers

Both sides agreed that the problem and issues of the inadvertent crossers should be viewed sympathetically, in a focussed and sensitive manner. Commending the work of the Judicial Committee on Prisoners for the release, repatriation and humane treatment of prisoners, both sides agreed for its continuation. The next meeting of the committee will be held from April 19 to 23 in Pakistan.

“Both sides also agreed to task the Coast Guard of India and the 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 statement said.

The group will submit report before next round of talks.

It was decided that the Central Bureau of Investigation and the FIA of Pakistan will meet to work out the technical details of moving forward on issues of human trafficking, counterfeit currency, cyber crimes and Red Corner Notices (RCNs).

The Indian side is learnt to have raised the issue of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafeez Sayeed's anti-India statements, activities of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and other terrorists in which the Pakistani side promised to do the needful.

Mr. Pillai accepted the invitation by his Pakistani counterpart for the next round of Home Secretary level talks to be held in Pakistan. 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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