Anti-terror mechanism includes Kashmir violence: India
13 March 2007
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi: Responding to Pakistan's studied ambiguity on the issue, India Tuesday asserted that the joint anti-terror mechanism includes in its scope terror acts in Jammu and Kashmir, along with all other acts of terrorism.'We will raise whatever is of concern to us. Pakistan can raise whatever concerns it,' Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters at the end of the first day of the two-day peace talks as part of the fourth round of composite dialogue here.The foreign secretary was responding to questions if the continuing terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir is covered under the joint anti-terror mechanism which held its first meeting March 6 here.Menon's clarification comes in response to Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri's statement suggesting that acts of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, which Pakistan considers to be a freedom struggle, are not part of what Islamabad considers a disputed territory.'This mechanism is the one between India and Pakistan,' Kasuri told reporters when asked whether the continuing terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir is covered under the joint anti- terror mechanism, which held its first meeting March 6 here.'Violence in Kashmir is not part of the anti-terror mechanism,' said official Pakistani sources.India and Pakistan Tuesday concluded the first day of their two-day talks by discussing the need to push the resolution of contentious issues like Jammu and Kashmir and the disputes over the Siachen glacier and the Sir Creek marshaland.India also pressed Pakistan to act upon evidence provided by it at the meeting of the anti-terrorism meeting a week ago that links Pakistan- based nationals to the Samjhauta Express link train blasts and the Mumbai train explosions last year.'We have moved relationship to a phase where we can truly say we are working towards a normalization of relations,' said Menon at the end the first day of talks with his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammad Khan.A joint statement is expected at the end of the two-day talks Wednesday, official sources told IANS. The decision to launch a cross-border truck service linking Srinagar and Muzaffarabad this summer is likely to be announced Weednesday.Menon also called on Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Kasuri and discussed an entire spectrum of bilateral and regional issues including the need to enhance air links, the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and the forthcoming SAARC summit in New Delhi April 3-4.Kasuri will be coming to India for the meeting of the council of ministers in New Delhi April 2. Aziz will represent Pakistan at the 14th South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation summit.During his discussions with Kasuri and Aziz, the two countries agreed that the resolution of disputes will create economic potential, including more trade and investment.Menon described the 'three-legged approach' to India's the dialogue process, that includes confidence-building measures, the resolution of disputes and more cooperating aimed at enhancing stakes in peace and stability in each other's country.Giving a push to the trilateral gas pipeline, Menon said it was a 'standalone project' that was not linked to the regional political situation. Technical details about pricing of gas and the funding of the project is yet to to be worked out, Menon said.From India's point of view, the focus in the foreign-secretary level is on getting Islamabad to act on the ground on the issue of cross-border linkages of terrorist attacks in India and enhancing people-to-people contacts between the two countries.