Track II dialogue calls for opening Indo-Pak Intel contacts

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Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Jan 31 (PTI) A call for institutionalisedcontacts between intelligence agencies of India and Pakistanand resumption of bilateral talks has been recommended byopinion-makers of the two nations who participated in Track IIparleys in Thailand.

The two-day dialogue organised in Bangkok by the JinnahInstitute of Pakistan and the Institute of Peace and Securityof India expressed the hope that resumption of talks betweenthe two sides would ultimately help resolve long-standingissues.

"We reiterate the need to initiate institutionalised andregular dialogue between the intelligence agencies of the twocountries," said a declaration known as the "BangkokResolution" that was adopted unanimously after the dialogue.

"The absence of a formal and sustained engagement on thefull range of issues confronting India and Pakistan isunhealthy, counterproductive and dangerous. We welcome theforthcoming meeting of Foreign Secretaries in Thimphu and hopethat the two sides will be able to prepare the ground for theresumption of a comprehensive and sustained dialogue," thedeclaration said.

Referring to the upcoming meeting of the ForeignSecretaries on the margins of a SAARC meeting in the Bhutanesecapital, the declaration said the participants hoped this"will lead to a productive summit".

It added: "We agree with the broad vision ofIndia-Pakistan relations in which borders cannot change butcan indeed be made irrelevant."

The participants said a dialogue between India andPakistan "should include discussions on Jammu and Kashmir" andthe "formal bilateral dialogue should be complemented byback-channel contacts".

The people of Jammu and Kashmir "should be appropriatelyconsulted in this process", the declaration said.

It also emphasised the "need to prioritise theimplementation of previously agreed upon confidence-buildingmeasures, particularly on trade and travel".

Noting that South Asia is facing "serious challengesposed by extremism which undermine democratic and pluralisticsocieties", the declaration called for steps to ensure thatstate institutions are "not eroded and undermined byextremism".

"Terrorism is of deep concern to both India and Pakistan.

Indian concerns about the 2008 Mumbai attacks have seriouslyaffected the dialogue process. The perpetrators of the attackshould be brought to justice at the earliest," the declarationsaid.

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