NEW DELHI, March 22: India and Pakistan agreed on Wednesday to jointly fight human trafficking, counterfeit currency trade and illegal immigration amid indications that the mandate for their criminal investigators, meeting after 17 years, could eventually cover organised crime. After two days of landmark talks between the heads of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) a joint statement indicated that both sides were serious about expeditiously dealing with Interpol references.

A joint statement at the end of the talks spoke of a Joint Study Group. It would decide “upon the modalities of future cooperation in the areas of human trafficking, counterfeit currency and illegal immigration. It was also agreed by both sides to designate an officer each as the nodal point to pursue cooperation between CBI and FIA in these areas.”

India was led by Mr Vijay Shanker, Director, CBI, while the Pakistan delegation was led by Mr Tariq Parvez, Director General, FIA.

The talks were held after a gap of almost 17 years following a decision during the Home Secretary Level talks in New Delhi in August last year.

“The deliberations were constructive and were held in a cordial atmosphere. Both sides identified areas of mutual interest and agreed to work out the modalities of cooperation,” the statement said.

“A decision was also taken to have periodical meetings at short intervals between the Interpol nodal points. All efforts will be made by both sides for expeditious disposal of pending Interpol references.”

The two agencies will also explore possible avenues of professional training and share experience in various fields of criminal investigation. The CBI director will visit Pakistan at the end of the year.

“The talks were constructive and carried out in a professional manner between the two sides,” Mr Shanker told reporters.

The CBI director sidestepped a question on the extradition of 1993 Mumbai blast accused Dawood Ibrahim. India claims he is sheltered in Pakistan. India had earlier given Pakistan a list of 22 most wanted criminals and terrorists of India.

According to the joint statement, the two sides have decided to designate an officer for better cooperation between the CBI and FIA.

“These officers would be posted in Islamabad and New Delhi and steps would be taken for expeditious disposal of pending Interpol references.”