Good afternoon everyone. You may have seen the Joint Statement that has been issued in Islamabad. I will read it out to you.
"In pursuance of the decision taken during meeting between the President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of India in Havana, Cuba on 16 September, 2006, the first meeting of the Anti- Terrorism Mechanism was held in Islamabad on 6th March, 2007. The Pakistan delegation was led by Mr. Tariq Osman Hyder, Additional Secretary (UN&EC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Indian delegation was headed by Mr. K.C. Singh, Additional Secretary (IO), Ministry of External Affairs of India.
The two sides discussed the parameters of the Anti-Terrorism Mechanism and agreed that specific information will be exchanged through the Mechanism for
(i) Helping investigations on either side related to terrorist acts and
(ii) Prevention of violence and terrorist acts in the two countries.
It was also agreed that while the Anti-Terrorism Mechanism would meet on a quarterly basis, any information which is required to be conveyed on priority basis would be immediately conveyed through the respective Heads of the Mechanism."
So this is essentially it. The meeting spilled over from the sixth (of March) and carried on for part of the seventh. This is the result.
Question: How do you plan to prevent violence?
Navtej Sarna: The essential idea behind is to exchange information which leads to a mechanism which can jointly end terrorism. So that is the purpose of talking of prevention of violence and terrorist acts in the two countries by tightening the net.
Question: There have been a lot of reports in Pakistani papers that Pakistan has presented evidence on the alleged Indian role in Baluchistan and also the operation of Indian Consulates in Afghanistan. Would you like to comment?
Navtej Sarna: Well, I would not like to comment on what has been presented because that we have not seen. We will certainly see what they have presented. I am glad you used the word ‘alleged’ because India has nothing to do with the developments in Baluchistan. As far as the Indian Consulates in Afghanistan are concerned, they have nothing to do with the developments in Baluchistan. They are working in very close cooperation with the government and people of Afghanistan to help in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and complete the other bilateral work which is wholly and completely supported and appreciated by the people of Afghanistan.
Question: I understand that five or six names of people who have red corner alerts against them were handed over to the Pakistani side. Could you elaborate?
Navtej Sarna: I cannot go into details of what has been exchanged. Yes, information has been shared before these talks, evidence has been shared, for instance, during the last Foreign Secretaries meeting, evidence has been shared yesterday on some issues. I cannot go into details. That would not be in keeping with the purpose of this exercise. Ultimately, we will see what happens.
Question: Are you at liberty to talk of any of the evidence that has been presented?
Navtej Sarna: I am not at liberty to talk and I do not think it helps much to talk. Ultimately, this is really about doing. So we will see what is done.
Question: There are PTI reports that the Indian side presented some photographs of the Pakistani suspects involved in some of the blasts. Would you like to comment?
Navtej Sarna: As I said I am not going to get into details based on media reports. I am telling you that evidence was shared.
Question: How cooperative has the Pakistani side been?
Navtej Sarna: This is not a question of characterizing anybody’s cooperation or lack of cooperation on the basis of one meeting. This is a meeting between delegations of two countries, both the delegations have done what they had to do, there is an agreed joint statement, now let us see where it goes. As far as we are concerned we will naturally judge the cooperation and efficacy by the results we achieve.
Question: In the recent Attari Express blasts, they (Pakistan) wanted a joint investigation. Any comments?
Navtej Sarna: Well, that question was sufficiently answered by the External Affairs Minister during the joint press interaction with Mr. Kasuri.
Question: Is there any terrorist outfit which is not within the mandate of the joint anti-terrorism mechanism?
Navtej Sarna: I do not see any such exceptions. I think the mandate of the group is very clear as laid out in the joint press statement in Havana.
Question: Is there any territory in India or Pakistan which is outside the mandate…?
Navtej Sarna: You know the mandate is in plain English. It has no exceptions.
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