India-Pakistan Joint Statement, May 2008
1. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and External Affairs Minister of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, met in Islamabad on 21 May 2008 to review the progress made in the Fourth Round of Pakistan-India Composite Dialogue. This was preceded by a meeting between the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, Mr. Salman Bashir and Foreign Secretary of India, Mr. Shivshankar Menon, on 20 May 2008.
2. The talks were held in a friendly and constructive atmosphere.
3. They reviewed the progress made in the Fourth Round of the Composite Dialogue encompassing (i) Peace and Security, including CBMs; (ii) Jammu and Kashmir; (iii) Siachen; (iv) Sir Creek; (v) Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project; (vi) Terrorism and Drug Trafficking; (vii) Economic and Commercial Cooperation; and (viii) Promotion of Friendly Exchanges in Various Fields.
4 They noted the positive contribution to improvement of relations by the Composite Dialogue process since its resumption after the joint statement of 6 January 2004 and the subsequent Summit Statements of 25 September 2004, 18 April 2005, 14 September 2005 and 16 September 2006. The Ministers reaffirmed their determination not to let terrorism impede the peace process and take all necessary steps to eliminate this scourge against humanity. They further resolved to carry forward the peace process and to maintain its momentum.
5. The Ministers noted that in 2007 and over the course of the Fourth Round of Composite Dialogue there had been a number of important bilateral achievements, including:
• MoU to increase the frequencies, designated airlines and points of call in either country.
• Agreement for the trucks from one side to cross the border up to designated points on the other side at the Wagah-Attari border.
• Increase in frequency of Delhi- Lahore bus service from two to three trips per week.
• Signing of Agreement on ‘Reducing the Risk from Accidents relating to Nuclear Weapons’.
• MoU between the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to facilitate the sharing of information between two agencies.
• Completion of the Joint Survey of Sir Creek and adjoining areas.
• Two meetings of the Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism.
6. The two sides signed the Agreement on Consular Access, which was finalised during the Fourth round of Composite Dialogue.
7. They exchanged views on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to continue discussions to build on convergences and narrow down divergences. They also agreed to continue with the implementation of Cross-LoC CBMs with a view to enhancing interaction and cooperation across the LoC. In this regard, they decided:
a) To increase the frequency of Muzaffarabad -Srinagar and Rawalkot-Poonch Bus service from a fortnightly to a weekly basis.
b) To finalize modalities for intra-Kashmir trade and truck service as early as possible.
c) To implement other measures to expand and facilitate travel a meeting of Working Group on Cross-LoC CBMs would be convened within two months.
8. They reaffirmed the importance of ceasefire in place since November 2003 and the commitment of both sides to cooperate to safeguard it.
9. They agreed that progress has been made under the Composite Dialogue process on promoting a stable environment of Peace and Security including CBMs. The Expert Groups on Nuclear and Conventional CBMs should consider existing and additional proposals by both sides with a view to developing further confidence building measures in the nuclear and conventional fields.
10. Both sides exchanged views on Siachen and reiterated their commitment to seeking an early amicable solution.
11. Both sides expressed satisfaction on the progress made on Sir Creek, with the completion of the joint survey, the exchange of maps, and the discussions thereafter. They agreed to further facilitate the process for an early resolution of this issue.
12. Both sides reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and re-emphasized the need for effective steps for the complete elimination of this menace. In this context, it was agreed to continue cooperation in the Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism whose next meeting would be held within two months. Both sides agreed to refrain from hostile propaganda.
13. Both sides emphasized the need for further strengthening cooperation to eliminate drug trafficking and welcomed the finalization of an MOU on Cooperation between Pakistan’s Anti-Narcotics Force and Narcotics Control Board of India.
14. Both sides reiterated the importance of enhancing mutually beneficial economic and commercial cooperation and agreed to discuss further steps for facilitating trade and redressing the trade imbalance. In this regard, Indian and Pakistan Railway officials would meet in June for resolving all technical issues to enable increase in to and fro freight movement. They also agreed to facilitate the process of early opening of bank branches in the two countries.
15. Both sides appreciated the work being done by the Judicial Committee on Prisoners, which will meet in Pakistan shortly; welcomed the finalization of the Consular Access Agreement that will help addressing humanitarian aspects relating to persons under detention in each other’s country and; agreed to provide on a regular basis updated and comprehensive list of prisoners in each other jails.
16. Both sides agreed to the need for promoting friendly exchanges between the two countries.
17. Both sides agreed to the early finalization of the Visa Agreement which will help liberalize the visa regime and facilitate people-to-people contacts.
18. The two Ministers reiterated their commitment to the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project and had a useful exchange of views in this regard.
19. The two Foreign Ministers also exchanged views on promoting the Pakistan-India peace process, reinvigoration of SAARC and agreed to work towards promoting regional cooperation for enabling South Asia to realize its full development potential. It was agreed to work for promoting sustainable development and food and energy security.
20. It was decided that the two Foreign Secretaries will launch the Fifth Round of the Composite Dialogue in New Delhi in July 2008.
21. The External Affairs Minister of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, called on the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
May 21, 2008
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Delhi.