Af­ter Modi’s stopover in La­hore, In­dia, Pak get down to busi­ness

For­eign sec­re­taries of both coun­tries to meet in Is­lam­abad on Jan­uary 15-16

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Jayanth Ja­cob jayanth.ja­cob@hin­dus­tan­

NEW DELHI: Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s sur­prise stopover in Pak­istan sent the neigh­bours to the draw­ing board for their com­pre­hen­sive bi­lat­eral di­a­logue (CBD) in Jan­uary that would test the re­solve of both sides in im­prov­ing ties.

For­eign sec­re­tary S Jais­hankar and his Pak­istan coun­ter­part Aizaz Ahmed Chowd­hury are likely to meet in Is­lam­abad on Jan­uary 15 and an­nounce the talks sched­ule to cover ev­ery pos­si­ble sub­stan­tive is­sue be­tween the two coun­tries.

It was In­dia’s turn to host the for­eign sec­re­taries, but since the meet­ing is tak­ing place in Pak­istan, it will ad­dress a thin red line In­dia had drawn and keep the Hur­riyat sep­a­ratists of Kash­mir from gain­ing an au­di­ence with the del­e­ga­tion from Is­lam­abad.

Sources said both sides are keen on high-level in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the lead­er­ships of the two coun­tries when­ever such meet­ings are pos­si­ble, es­pe­cially on the side­lines of multi-lat­eral meet­ings.

The CBD agreed be­tween the two na­tions dur­ing for­eign min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Pak­istan early De­cem­ber has a host of is­sues on the ta­ble, such as peace and se­cu­rity, con­fi­dence build­ing mea­sures, Jammu and Kash­mir, Si­achen, Sir Creek, Wullar Bar­rage or Tul­bul nav­i­ga­tion project, eco­nomic and com­mer­cial co­op­er­a­tion, counter-ter­ror­ism, nar­cotics con­trol, hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sues, peo­ple to peo­ple ex­changes and re­li­gious tourism. Hu­man­i­tar­ian is­sues and re­li­gious tourism are the two ad­di­tions to the com­pos­ite di­a­logue for­mat which In­dia had called off af­ter the Mum­bai terror strike in 2008. Modi’s visit to La­hore, 16 days af­ter Swaraj’s trip, has dis­played New Delhi’s po­lit­i­cal in­tent in am­ple mea­sures for mean­ing­fully en­gag­ing Pak­istan.

In­dian of­fi­cials said Pak­istan too has agreed to “en­gage in a mean­ing­ful di­a­logue with In­dia” and they “fully understand” In­dian sen­si­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing the need for a speedy con­clu­sion of the trial of cul­prits in the 2008 Mum­bai terror at­tacks.





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