September 24, 2020
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'The Biggest Confidence Building Measure Of All...'

'...would be bringing the guilty to justice in the Mumbai terror attacks.' So spoke the Indian foreign secretary after meeting his Pakistani counterpart

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'The Biggest Confidence Building Measure Of All...'
PTI Photo/ Vijay Verma
'The Biggest Confidence Building Measure Of All...'
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-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Ranjan Mathai, Foreign Secretary of India: Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani and I have held detailed discussions over three sessions yesterday and today on peace and security including confidence building measures, Jammu and Kashmir and the promotion of friendly exchanges. We have also taken stock of the current state of our bilateral relations and reviewed progress in the various Secretary-level meetings held on different issues in the second round of our resumed dialogue.

We have had a frank and constructive discussion on the issues in the agenda. We have exchanged our respective views on areas of mutual interest and concern. This dialogue has contributed to a better understanding of each other’s positions. While we might not agree on all issues, we do agree that relations between our two countries have to be normalized. There is a determination on both sides to take forward our dialogue with an open mind and a constructive spirit.

You have with you a Joint Statement that has been agreed by both sides which reflects our common position. I will only make a reference to three issues in this Joint Statement. We said: The issue of peace and security including CBMs was discussed in a comprehensive manner. Both sides emphasized the need to promote greater trust and mutual understanding through constructive dialogue. The Foreign Secretaries noted that both countries recognize that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security. They reaffirmed the strong commitment of the two countries to fight and eliminate terrorism in an effective and comprehensive manner. The Foreign Secretaries had a comprehensive exchange of views on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions in a purposeful and forward looking manner with the view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences. And finally, I draw your attention, both sides underlined the importance of greater people to people contacts and friendly exchanges in building a relationship of trust and friendship between the two countries. Thank you.

Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan: Excellency Mr. Ranjan Mathai, Foreign Secretary of India, my very dear friends from the press corps, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great pleasure for me to be back in this historic city. I am delighted to meet my old friends and colleagues. I would like to thank His Excellency Mr. Ranjan Mathai, the Foreign Secretary of India, for the gracious hospitality extended to me and my delegation ever since our arrival in New Delhi. I bring to the people and the Government of India message of goodwill, peace and cooperation from the people and Government of Pakistan.

My talks with Foreign Secretary Mr. Ranjan Mathai on peace and security including CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir and promotion of friendly exchanges have been substantive. We discussed these issues in detail in a cordial atmosphere. We held separate meetings for each segment which are part of Pakistan-India dialogue process.

We reviewed progress on peace and security and agreed to convene separate meetings of the expert-level Working Group on Nuclear and Conventional CBMs. We also discussed in detail Jammu and Kashmir with a view to finding peaceful resolution. We also reviewed progress on various cross-LoC Intra-Kashmir CBMs. We have agreed to convene a meeting of the Joint Working Group on Cross-LoC CBMs to streamline and strengthen travel and trade arrangements.

We have agreed that friendly exchanges in various fields will help in building trust and resolving all issues. We have agreed that the process dialogue should continue as there is no alternative to dialogue and constructive engagement.

Pakistan and India are two important countries in South Asia. They have a special responsibility to promote stability, peace and prosperity in the region. We are not only close neighbours, we are also partners in SAARC. I have conveyed to Foreign Secretary Mathai that Pakistan seeks friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations with India.

We must make sincere and serious efforts towards building mutual trust applying political will in resolving all outstanding issues through peaceful means, and continue to work for promotion of peace, harmony and cooperation.

Let me repeat what I said on my arrival. I have come here with a clear mandate from the leadership of Pakistan to promote bilateral relations. Let me assure you of our sincere desire to make every effort to resolve our differences and move forward.

I wish to thank Foreign Secretary Mathai once again for his invitation and warm hospitality. Thank you.

Ritul Joshi, Aaj Tak: My question is both for Mr. Mathai and Mr. Jilani. Mr. Mathai, now that India has fresh evidence of involvement of Pakistani state actors in 26/11 attacks, was this evidence in terms of the confessional statement of Abu Jundal, his Pakistani ID and Passport, handed over to Pakistan? And what kind of action are you expecting from the Pakistani side?

Mr. Jilani, aap se guzaarish hai agar aap jawab Urdu mein dein to hamein bahut khushi hogi kyon ki hum ek Hindi channel ke liye kaam karte hain.

Chaar saal ho gaye, aap abhi bhi yehi kehte hain ki sabuut nahin milein hain Mumbai humle ke Hindustan ki taraf se. Kya jo naya evidence Abu Jundal ka aap ko mila hai voh bhi aap ke liye naakaafi hai? Ya, ab kisi kism ki action ki hum ummeed kar sakte hain?

[Mr Jilani, I work for a Hindi channel and would be very happy if you kindly answer in Urdu. It's been four years, but you still claim that evidence has not been provided by India about the 26/11 attack. Is the new evidence about Abu Jundal also inadequate for you? Or can we hope to have some action?]

Ranjan Mathai: The Foreign Secretaries are mandated to discuss among other things, as we said, peace and security including CBMs. It is in this context that Foreign Secretary Jilani and I discussed all issues that impact peace and security between our two countries including terrorism. I emphasized that terrorism is the biggest threat to peace and security in the region, and that bringing the guilty to justice in the Mumbai terror attacks would be the biggest confidence building measure of all.

During the Home Secretary-level talks in May 2012 in Islamabad, extensive information on the perpetrators of 26/11 has been provided to the Pakistani side. The arrest and the ongoing interrogation of Abu Jundal has now added urgency to this matter. I did take up the issue with Foreign Secretary Jilani and I have shared information with him.

As you are aware, the investigation is under way and we will continue to pursue this matter with determination to its logical conclusion. The Home Minister, as you are also aware, has already addressed this issue.

Jalil Abbas Jilani: Main koshish karunga ki Urdu mein javab dun jis tarah aap ne kaha. Angrezi mein main javab deta to shayad mere liye zyada aasan hota. [I will try to answer in Urdu, as asked for by you. It would have been easier for me to answer in English.] Anyway I will try.

Main is silsile mein yeh kahunga ki hum dehshatgardi ko donon Hindustan aur Pakistan ke liye ek common enemy samajhte hain. Voh is liye ki hum donon, is donon mumalik, ko dehshatgardi ka saamna hai. Is ke saath-saath main yeh bhi kahunga ki hum agar ek dusre ke khilaf is tarike se ilzaamtaraashi karenge, to us ka bhi koi faayeda nahin hoga aur hum kisi natije pe shaayad nahin pahunch saken. Main aur hamari huqumat aur log hain voh bahut hi is muamle mein serious hain, aur seriously voh sochte hain ki hamein ek adversarial relation se ek positive narrative ki taraf jaane ki zarurat hai.

Dehshatgardi ek bahut hi aham muamla hai aur bahut hi serious masla hai Aur us ke liye humein zarurat is baat ki hai ki hum is ke liye serious aur sincere efforts karein ki is ko kis tareeqe se resolve kiya jaaye.

[In this regard, I would say that we consider terrorists to be common enemies of both India and Pakistan. That is because both countries face terrorism. I would also say that if we indulge in blaming each other, we will not gain anything as we will not perhaps be able to reach any conclusion. My government and I and also our people are very serious about this issue — we think that our adversarial relations need to go towards a positive narrative.

Terrorism is a very important and serious matter, and the need of the hour is for us to undertake serious and sincere efforts so as to resolve it somehow]

Having said that, let me say that the issue was extensively discussed between myself and my very dear colleague Mr. Ranjan Mathai. And I assured him that the entire evidence, whatever evidence that India has, should be shared with us, and we will investigate this matter. We will even be willing to offer joint investigation into the whole affair.

Toh, main filhaal itna hi kahunga aapke javab mein. [So for now, this is all I will say in response to your question.] Thank you.

Manish Chand, IANS: This question is addressed to both Foreign Secretaries.

Sir, the past few months have seen a lot of positive movement on the trade front. Do you think the revelations made by Abu Jundal constitute a setback to the peace process and the so-called peace dividend which was sought to be developed by trade?


Ranjan Mathai: I think the forward movement on economic and commercial cooperation between India and Pakistan is really a welcome development. And we see it as a win-win proposition for both sides. Enhanced economic cooperation contributes to economic growth and development in our two countries which is the primary objective on both sides. We look forward to making progress on the trade track in accordance with the roadmap which has been agreed already by the two sides.

At the same time we are very conscious terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security and the full normalization of bilateral relations. In this regard we have reiterated the firm and undiluted commitment of the two countries to fight and eliminate the scourge in all its forms and manifestations and bring those responsible for such crimes to justice. We expect the realization of this commitment and look forward to its fulfilment.

Jalil Abbas Jilani: In response to your question I will say, ‘We hope not!’ There should be absolutely no setback because setback is something that we cannot afford. I think whenever we are faced with this kind of a situation, and I said earlier that we are both faced with terrorism, we should intensify our cooperation. I have been following this process for a long time and I have every reason to believe that we have certainly made a lot of progress on almost every issue including the issue of terrorism.

As I said, our Home Ministries and the Interior Ministry, they should meet more often. The respective agencies should meet more often and enter into a comprehensive cooperation in order to defeat the forces of terrorism.

Geeta Mohan, Times Now: My question is to both the Foreign Secretaries.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said that state actors were involved in the 26/11 attacks. What is Pakistan really doing about it because every time India raises 26/11, Pakistan talks about Samjhauta when India continues to maintain that they are incomparable, that India has taken action and Pakistan has not done much on 26/11? And why weren’t the documents on Abu Jundal shared with Pakistan?

Jalil Abbas Jilani: I have already said that whenever we both countries are faced with terrorism we need to intensify our cooperation. I would very strongly reject any insinuation of any involvement of any state agency in acts of terrorism in India. Having said that, I would say that we have over the years improved our level of cooperation. And in case there are certain gaps that need to be filled, I think we should fill those gaps in a spirit of cooperation. And that is the only way that we can move forward on this very very important issue.

Ranjan Mathai: I will just add to that.

Home Minister has already addressed this question in some detail and he drew attention to the scale of the conspiracy and the extent of control. I do not think I need to add anything to that. I did convey information provided to us regarding the outcome of the investigation so far that has been taken on board, as you heard, by the Pakistan Foreign Secretary. And we look forward to them taking action on that information.

Gautam Lahiri, Sangbad Pratidin: Good morning Excellencies. My question is addressed to both the Foreign Secretaries.

It is almost a year since both the countries have started dialogue at different levels. After these Foreign Secretary-level talks, could you give us an assessment of how the trust deficit is reduced? And has it reduced to a level that both India and Pakistan can start a cricket match right now, which has been stopped for quite a long time?

Jalil Abbas Jilani: I certainly can tell you that we have positively assessed this dialogue process, the resumed process that we started, and we have made significant progress. With regard to the cricketing ties, again this issue was discussed between myself and His Excellency Mr. Ranjan Mathai. I put forward certain suggestions for the revival of cricketing ties between the two countries, and I think we will continue with this positive trajectory that we have adopted over the years in moving forward in our relations.

Ranjan Mathai: Pakistan Foreign Secretary Mr. Jilani and I reviewed the various engagements that have taken place already and we noted that we are now at the culmination of the second round of the resumed dialogue. We have made progress in people-to-people relations and trade. We are cognizant that much more needs to be done on these tracks and on the other tracks and that the path ahead is not going to be an easy one. But the very fact that both sides are determined to sit across the table and resolve all outstanding issues through a dialogue in a peaceful manner is a positive step in the right direction.

As for the resumption of cricketing ties, this is really a matter for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board. There are issues of security as well which arise. However, as you will see in the Joint Statement which we have circulated, we have both emphasized the need to promote sports and media contacts between the two countries. So, I think we will leave it there for the moment.


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