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August 12, 2015

Quick exchange of intelligence must to prevent terror acts


August 12, 2015

Days after the Gurdaspur attack and renewed violence across the Line of Control, a senior group of interlocutors from India and Pakistan looked at permanent cross-border mechanisms that can deal with militancy and terrorism, so that the progress made at Ufa between premiers Sharif and Modi may not roll back, says a press release.
Meeting at the 16th Chaophraya Dialogue in Bangkok, an Indo-Pak Track 2 engagement that once served as the unofficial communication between New Delhi and Islamabad, interlocutors emphasized the need to sustain ceasefire along the LoC and IB/WB.
They suggested more frequent meetings between the NSAs, DGMOs, DG BSF and DG Pakistan Rangers to eliminate ceasefire violations in addition to candidly discussing gains made after Operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorism.
They recounted how many times the LoC had been violated over the last 12 months, as well as casualties on both sides. A quick and ready exchange of intelligence was crucial to prevent terrorist acts, they observed, as well as progressively higher levels of contact between intelligence officials.
Evolving threats like Daesh/ISIS that have a transnational character make this task more urgent, as participants pointed out that militant cells cooperating with ISIS had been discovered in India and Pakistan.
They also expressed grave concern over the increasing presence of Daesh/ISIS in Afghanistan and how the agencies of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan could coordinate efforts towards intelligence sharing.
The participants discussed the ongoing 26/11 Mumbai trials in Rawalpindi and its legal complications. They encouraged the two sides to enter into a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in criminal matters based on a model treaty available with SAARC, so that the 26/11 and Samjhota trials can be expedited.
Thus far the absence of MLA mechanisms has slowed down the investigations, as they make the exchange of legal material and evidence

fraught with difficulty.
The participants also underscored the need for insulating the trials from undue political scrutiny and letting the process stay a legal course. They encouraged both sides to cooperate on capacity building of law-enforcement agencies, share best practices, and consider if some of these initiatives can be taken up at the SAARC level.
The participants also took note of the regional environment that impacts on Indo-Pak relations, including China’s investments in CPEC and the AIIB. They saw the Ufa meeting and resumption of official dialogue as a welcome development and hoped that the forthcoming NSA meetings would be productive, leading to cooperation on all outstanding issues.
The Chaophraya Dialogue has jointly been managed by Jinnah Institute (JI) and the Australia-India Institute since 2008.

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