The BJP, meanwhile, sounded a note of caution on the decision to resume talks while the PDP hailed the move calling it a new readiness 'to embrace fresh ideas' in search for 'pragmatic, feasible and practical solutions' to the problems of the region.
Foreign Secretary-designate Shiv Shankar Menon told journalists hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf announced the decision yesterday in a Joint Statement after their first meeting in a year, ''Yes, it is new. We have not done this together before.'' He also made it clear that it was the agreement on this that made the rest of the Joint Statement, including the decision to resume the Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two countries, possible.
The Congress said ''We note and endorse the specific condemnation of terrorism in the joint India-Pakistan statement at Havana, including the categoric reference to the dastardly attacks in Mumbai recently.'' India has sent out a clear, unequivocal and unambiguous message to the world in general and to Pakistan in particular that there can be no compromise on terror.
The decision to continue the peace process and the high-level talks is welcome.
The Congress hopes and trusts that while keeping India's guard at an appropriate level of alertness, the continuance of talks would accelerate the peace process and lead to solutions in the public interest of both countries, the statement added.
The Left parties said the decision is a welcome as well as a necessary step.
BJP president Rajnath Singh said India should move with ''double caution'' on the resumption of the composite dialogue with Pakistan.
He said there is a total dis-connect between the UPA Government and the popular public opinion on the terror attacks in different parts of the country.
This may create an impression that the government has ''forgotten the faces of the terror victims of Mumbai blasts and elsewhere so soon.'' The proposed joint mechanism to fight terrorism appears to be a fig-leaf to cover the concessions made to Islamabad with regard to the resumption of the talks, the BJP president said.
PDP patron and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said both the countries have cleared the way for the peace process to be raised to a higher level and that should ultimately culminate with peaceful resolution of all the issues, including Kashmir.
The joint statement indicates the desire of both the leaders to break away from the past and take a new path to establish long lasting peace in the region, he said adding the decision of the two leaders to continue the search for mutually acceptable options for peaceful settlement of all issues including 'Kashmir' has given a new hope to the people of the state.
UNI TEAM MSJ RP BS1928