India-Pakistan Joint Statement, November 2008
The fifth round of Interior/Home Secretary Level Talks between Pakistan and India on Terrorism and Drugs Trafficking was held in Islamabad on 25th and 26th November 2008 as a part of the Composite Dialogue. The Pakistan delegation was led by Syed Kamal Shah, Secretary, Ministry of Interior, while the Indian delegation was headed by Mr. Madhukar Gupta, Home Secretary of India.
2. The meeting was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere.
3. Both sides discussed the issues related to terrorism and drug trafficking and reviewed the implementation of decisions taken during the last round. Both sides noted with satisfaction the progress made and identified ways to further promote cooperation in a number of areas.
4. Both sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and affirmed their resolve to cooperate with each other to combat the menace of terrorism. It was agreed that terrorism must be prevented and as directed by the leadership of the two countries at the meeting in New York on 24 September 2008, severe action be taken against any elements involved in terrorist acts.
5. Both sides welcomed the release of prisoners and fishermen by each other on the eve of these talks as a gesture of goodwill and on humane considerations. It was agreed to exchange by 31st December 2008, names of those civil prisoners, who have completed their sentence and whose national status has been confirmed, with a view to facilitating their release in January. It was further agreed that, henceforth, verification of nationality status would be completed within six weeks of provision of consular access. It was also agreed to facilitate the expeditious release of fishermen and boats.
6. Both sides welcomed the signing of Agreement on Consular Access during the review of the Fourth Round of Pakistan-India Composite Dialogue, and affirmed full implementation of the Agreement.
7. Both sides commended the work done by the Judicial Committee on Prisoners for the release, repatriation and humane treatment of prisoners and agreed on the need for the continuation of the work of the Committee.
8. Both sides underscored the need for visa liberalization. In this context, useful discussions were held on draft Visa Agreement. The Indian side would propose a draft Visa Agreement within four weeks, based on parameters discussed.
9. Both sides agreed that the issue of inadvertent crossers be viewed from a humanitarian dimension and recommended early finalization of the draft agreement regarding inadvertent crossings by the expert group on Conventional CBMs which is due to meet soon.
10. Both sides noted that Protocol of 1974 on visits to religious shrines was due for revision along with lists of religious shrines in both countries. The subject will be discussed under the segment of Secretary Culture level talks on Promotion of Friendly Exchanges which is likely to take place soon. It was recommended that a revised Protocol and the list of shrines should be finalized as early as possible and the Pakistan side agreed to furnish its comments on the lists before the talks on Friendly Exchanges.
11. Both sides assessed as positive the existing cooperation and information sharing between the Anti Narcotics Force of Pakistan and the Narcotics Control Bureau of India and agreed that both Agencies would enhance mutual cooperation in terms of effective and sustained steps to control drugs trafficking.
12. The MoU on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics Drugs/Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals and Related Matters, was initialed. Both sides welcomed this development and agreed that the MoU will further promote bilateral cooperation in this field. It was agreed that Director General ANF of Pakistan and Director General of NCB of India will meet as early as possible to discuss ways of furthering cooperation.
13. It was decided that the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan and the Central Bureau of Investigation of India will schedule a meeting at an early date to discuss ways of cooperation in addressing the issues of human trafficking, illegal immigration, and counterfeit currency, along with Red Corner Notices (RCN) subjects.
14. The Home Secretary of India also called on the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior/Minister and discussed issues of mutual interest.
15. It was agreed to continue the discussions within the framework of the Composite Dialogue.
November 26, 2008
Source: Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi