Pak­istan’s top diplo­mat says he will visit In­dia

The Myanmar Times - - World -

PAK­ISTAN’S top for­eign af­fairs of­fi­cial has said he plans to visit In­dia next month for a re­gional con­fer­ence, the first high-pro­file visit since ten­sions spi­ralled be­tween the arch-ri­vals af­ter a deadly at­tack on an In­dian army base.

Sar­taj Aziz, ad­viser to Pak­istan’s prime min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif and de facto for­eign min­is­ter, said he will at­tend the Heart of Asia con­fer­ence on Afghanistan, in In­dia in De­cem­ber, “to defuse the ten­sion”.

“We want to prove that Pak­istan is with the mul­ti­lat­eral process by at­tend­ing the Heart of Asia Con­fer­ence as Afghanistan is our top pri­or­ity,” he told re­porters in Is­lam­abad.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear if he would hold any bi­lat­eral talks with In­dian of­fi­cials dur­ing the visit.

The de­ci­sion came af­ter months of surg­ing ten­sions be­tween the nu­cle­ar­armed neigh­bours sparked by a Septem­ber at­tack on an In­dian base in Kash­mir, which killed 19 sol­diers and which New Delhi blames on Pak­istan­based mil­i­tants.

Ten­sions reached dan­ger­ous lev­els as In­dia said it had re­tal­i­ated to the raid by car­ry­ing out “surgical strikes” across the heav­ily mil­i­tarised bor­der, spark­ing a furious re­ac­tion from Is­lam­abad, which de­nied the strikes took place.

There have since been re­peated out­breaks of cross-bor­der fir­ing, with both sides re­port­ing deaths and in­juries in­clud­ing of civil­ians.

In­dia also sought to iso­late Pak­istan in the wake of the mil­i­tant raid, pulling out of a key South Asian sum­mit set to be held in Is­lam­abad in Novem­ber in a ma­jor snub. –

Photo: EPA

Sar­taj Aziz says Afghanistan is a top pri­or­ity for Pak­istan.

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