Islamabad, May 20 : Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said that terrorism could only be countered if all affected parties confronted it collectively.
Speaking to reporters ahead of his talks on Wednesday with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmud Qureshi, Mukherjee said that combating terrorism collectively by India and Pakistan would be a fitting tribute to Pakistan's late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated on December 27, 2007.
"For the sake of our collective efforts, we must work together to combat the menace of terrorism, perhaps that would be a fitting tribute to Mrs. Bhutto's memory and her legacy," said Mukherjee.
Soon after his arrival in the Pakistan capital, Mukherjee met Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) chief Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan People's Party co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, and Awami National Party leader Ashfandiyar Wali Khan.
Mukherjee's visit to Pakistan is the first high-level contact between the two countries since the newly formed democratic government assumed office in Islamabad after securing victory in the February 18 general elections.
Although Mukherjee has said that his trip to Pakistan is a goodwill visit and he is not going with any fixed agenda or expectation, the All India Radio has said that cross border terrorism, peace and security and growing incidents of infiltration will be high on the agenda.
No major breakthroughs are expected on their main dispute over Kashmir but Pakistani analysts hope the talks might set the stage for a visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
On Tuesday, Pakistan said it was releasing nearly 99 Indians in its custody to mark the talks.
The two neighbours launched peace efforts in 2004 after nearly going to war a fourth time.
While ties have warmed, the two sides have made no significant progress on their dispute over Kashmir, a region to which both have staked a claim. By Naveen Kapoor