We, the undersigned, welcome the Joint Statement of Indian Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani signed at the Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt on the sidelines of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit. The Joint Statement has put the Mumbai attack and terrorism up front unlike the impression sought to be created by hawkish elements in both the countries. The statement by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Gilani committing “that whosoever was behind the Mumbai attack will be brought to justice” is a positive development and we urge Pakistan to follow it up with appropriate and immediate action. India and Pakistan both need to work together on the issue of militancy as quickly as possible as both are victims of terrorism- mostly from the same elements.That the statement de-links terrorism from dialogue is a positive sign, as the terrorists have the capacity to hijack and derail the peace process through their nefarious activities. The only way to isolate and defeat the terrorists is by both the countries engaging in constant dialogue and cooperation to root out this menace. A joint mechanism against terrorism is necessary.We welcome the resumption of regular dialogue at the foreign secretary level and hope that all steps would be taken and an atmosphere is created that is conducive for an immediate resumption of the composite dialogue process. Prior to 26/11, four rounds of composite dialogue were held on the identified eight issues and significant progress was made on all fronts and major breakthroughs were in sight when the Mumbai terror attack derailed the process. In hindsight it appears that 26/11 was perhaps enacted to scuttle such breakthroughs that appearedimminent.   The resumption of composite dialogue is the only road map towards permanent peace in the sub-continent. If the Joint Statement is implemented in letter and spirit the resumption of composite dialogue can take place as early as September when the leadership of both the countries meet on the sidelines of UN General Assembly.
  • Admiral (Retd.) L Ramdas
  • Kamla Bhasin, SANGAT, Delhi
  • Mahesh Bhatt, Mumbai
  • Prof. Kamal Chenoy, JNU, Delhi
  • Jatin Desai, PIPFPD, Mumbai
  • Mazher Hussain, COVA
  • Varsha Rajan Berry, Focus
  • Lalita Ramdas
  • Ramesh Pimple, Peoples’ Media Initiative, Mumbai
  • Sukla Sen, Ekta, Mumbai
  • Manisha Gupte, PIPFPD, Pune
  1. Nandita Das, Delhi/Mumbai