World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Minute on India-Pakistan Composite Dialogue

20 February 2004

WCC Executive Committee, Geneva, 17-20 February, 2004

The Executive Committee recalled the statement of the WCC Central Committee,
August-September, 2002, on the situation in South Asia, particularly the heightened
state of military confrontation between India and Pakistan. It called on member
churches including those in the two countries to promote healing and reconciliation
between the two nuclear neighbours. As a follow-up to the central
committee statement, WCC convened a Consultation of South Asian church leaders
in August 2003, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, that urged the churches in the two
countries to engage in confidence-building measures and actively participate in
people-to-people exchange programmes.

The Executive Committee welcomed the statement made by India and Pakistan
on 6th January after the meeting between Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
and President Pervez Musharraf during the South Asian Association of Regional
Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Islamabad. It appreciated the agreement made
between the two leaders to commence the process of composite dialogue in February
2004 and expressed confidence that resumption of such dialogue will promote
progress towards the common objective of peace, security and economic development
for their people and for the future generations.

The churches in India and Pakistan have welcomed this initiative and consider it
a new chapter in peace-building in the region. Special prayers have been offered
for the leaders as they prepare to engage in this historical process to usher in an
era of peace and reconciliation after years of confrontation and hostility.

The Executive Committee taking cognizance of these developments:

- reiterates the WCC's expression of solidarity and continuing prayers for the people
and churches in Pakistan and India;

- urges the two countries to sign and ratify the Non-Proliferation Treaty, NPT;

- reaffirms its support for the people and churches in Pakistan and India as they
continue their efforts to promote peace and reconciliation;

- calls upon WCC to continue to monitor developments and to support and
encourage the churches and ecumenical bodies in the region in their efforts to
promote a nuclear free zone to ensure just and lasting peace in South Asia