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Absence of terror must for Indo-Pak trust: Pranab

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May 20, 2008 15:47 IST

Underlining the need for joint fight against terror for the 'collective future' of India and Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said the absence of terrorism and violence was necessary for the development of trust and cooperation between the two countries.

Arriving in Islamabad for his talks with his counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday, Mukherjee hoped that a 'new democratic environment' in Pakistan would help the two countries in addressing various issues related to peace, stability and economic development.

He said several proposals in the political, economic and regional fields are on the anvil for consideration and implementation.

"In my discussions with Foreign Minister Qureshi, I hope to consolidate the progress made in our relationship, which provides a good basis for the sixth round of composite dialogue," Mukherjee said at the Islamabad airport.

"We approach the next round in a spirit of cooperation, trust and pragmatism. This is predicated on an atmosphere free from terrorism, violence or the threat of it," he said.

Noting that terrorism had claimed the life of the region's 'charismatic leader' Benazir Bhutto [Images], Mukherjee said: "For the sake of our (India and Pakistan) collective future, we must work together to combat the menace of terrorism. That would be a fitting tribute to Mrs Bhutto's memory and her legacy."

The External Affairs Minister, who will meet President Pervez Musharraf [Images], Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, besides Qureshi, expressed confidence that his discussions with the Pakistani leaders would be useful for furthering peace, stability, people-to-people contact and accelerated economic development of both the countries as well as the region.

He pointed out that the two countries had made 'considerable progress' on various issues of mutual interest during last year.

"My present visit to Pakistan comes amidst a new democratic environment of great promise... the present environment, I am sure, will help us in addressing various issues related to peace, stability and economic development."

Mukherjee will review the progress made during the fourth round of composite dialogue on eight outstanding issues, including terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir [Images], Siachen and confidence building measures.

During his talks with Qureshi on Wednesday, Mukherjee is expected to press Pakistan to take concrete action to end cross-border terrorism and infiltration which have witnessed an increase recently.

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