Indo-Pak talks roadmap will be drawn up in Jan

For­eign se­cys to fi­nalise sched­ule, modal­i­ties of bi­lat­eral di­a­logue

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Im­tiaz Ah­mad let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

IS­LAM­ABAD: The for­eign sec­re­taries of In­dia and Pak­istan will meet in Jan­uary to fi­nalise the sched­ule and modal­i­ties of the new com­pre­hen­sive bi­lat­eral di­a­logue process, the Pak­istani prime min­is­ter’s for­eign pol­icy ad­viser Sar­taj Aziz said on Fri­day.

Speak­ing in Pak­istan’s Na­tional As­sem­bly or lower house of par­lia­ment, Aziz de­fended the de­ci­sion to re­sume di­a­logue with In­dia and dis­missed the op­po­si­tion’s crit­i­cism that the joint state­ment is­sued on Wed­nes­day af­ter his meet­ing with In­dian ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj favoured New Delhi.

The agree­ment be­tween the two coun­tries to launch the new di­a­logue process is be­ing seen as a key break­through fol­low­ing years of ups and downs in bi­lat­eral ties. Swaraj had said the for­eign sec­re­taries would meet to give shape to the con­tours of the pro­posed talks but did not set any date for the meet­ing.

Aziz told the Na­tional As­sem­bly the two sides had de­cided that the for­eign sec­re­taries “will meet next month to work out the de­tails of the com­pre­hen­sive bi­lat­eral di­a­logue and the level of in­ter­ac­tion in var­i­ous work­ing groups”.

He added, “The for­eign sec­re­taries will also de­cide the modal­i­ties and sched­ule of the meet­ings un­der the di­a­logue.”

He said he had dis­cussed the is­sue of bi­lat­eral cricket matches with Swaraj at a din­ner and she had replied that the im­prove­ment in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions would en­sure smooth cricket ties.

Aziz gave de­tails of re­cent con­tacts that were be­hind the de­ci­sion to launch the com­pre­hen­sive di­a­logue process. Af­ter a meet­ing be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and his Pak­istani coun­ter­part Nawaz Sharif in Paris on Novem­ber 30, the two na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vis­ers and for­eign sec­re­taries had a “can­did and con­struc­tive” meet­ing in Bangkok on De­cem­ber 6.

Dur­ing the talks in Bangkok, the del­e­ga­tions were guided by the vi­sion of Sharif and Modi for a peace­ful, stable and pros­per­ous South Asia. They dis­cussed peace and se­cu­rity, Jammu and Kash­mir, ter­ror­ism, tran­quil­lity along the Line of Con­trol and the in­ter­na­tional border in Kash­mir, Aziz said.

“Fol­low­ing the suc­cess­ful meet­ing of the NSAs, the In­dian ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter vis­ited Pak­istan to at­tend the 5th min­is­te­rial con­fer­ence of the Heart of Asia-Is­tan­bul Process,” he said.

CON­TIN­UED ON P11

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