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Joint Press Statement after the meeting of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in New York

New York
September 24, 2008
(Press Information Bureau)

“The President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of India met during the 63rd UNGA session in New York.

Prime Minister Singh congratulated President Zardari on his election and the victory of democracy in Pakistan. He expressed the hope that this would pave the way for a profound transformation of the bilateral relationship, so that India and Pakistan could work together on their shared objectives of peace, prosperity and security.

Both leaders welcomed the several positive outcomes of the four rounds of the Composite Dialogue, which have brought their people, businesses and institutions closer, while permitting sustained efforts to be made to resolve all outstanding issues; these gains need to be consolidated. They agreed to work for an early and full normalization of relations between India and Pakistan, on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and non-interference.

Both leaders acknowledged that the peace process has been under strain in recent months. They agreed that violence, hostility and terrorism have no place in the vision they share of the bilateral relationship, and must be visibly and verifiably prevented. Severe action would be taken against any elements directing or involved in terrorist acts. President Zardari reassured Prime Minister Singh that the Government of Pakistan stands by its commitments of January 6, 2004.

Both leaders agreed that the forces that have tried to derail the peace process must be defeated. This would allow the continuation and deepening of a constructive dialogue for the peaceful resolution and satisfactory settlement of all bilateral issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.

The two leaders agreed that:
• The Foreign Secretaries of both countries will schedule meetings of the Fifth round of the Composite Dialogue in the next three months which will focus on deliverables and concrete achievements.
• The ceasefire should be stabilized. To this end, the DGMOs and Sector Commanders will stay in regular contact.
• A special meeting of the Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism will be held in October 2008 to address mutual concerns including the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul.
• The expansion of people to people contacts, trade, commerce and economic cooperation provides an effective platform to develop and strengthen bilateral relations. Towards this end it was decided to:
• Open the Wagah-Attari road link to all permissible items of trade o Open the Khokrapar-Munabao rail route to all permissible items of trade.
•Continue interaction between the Planning Commissions of both countries to develop mutually beneficial cooperation including the energy sector.
• Commence cross-LoC trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot roads on October 21, 2008.
• Modalities for the opening of the Skardu-Kargil route will be discussed soon.”