The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Prime Min­is­ter's Ad­viser on For­eign Af­fairs and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Sar­taj Aziz says Pak­istan has re­ceived a pro­posal from In­dia of a meet­ing be­tween Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sors of the two coun­tries.

Sar­taj Aziz said that In­dia pro­posed 23rd and 24th of this month for the meet­ing of Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sors of both the coun­tries. He said Pak­istan has not yet con­firmed the pro­posed meet­ing. He said agenda of the meet­ing has also not yet fixed. A Pak­istani diplo­mat con­firmed that In­dia had pro­posed the date, but said that Is­lam­abad had yet to con­firm the avail­abil­ity of Sar­taj Aziz, Ad­viser to Prime Min­is­ter on Na­tional Se­cu­rity and For­eign Af­fairs, for the meet­ing.

In­dia in­tends to hold the meet­ing in New Delhi. It ap­pears dif­fi­cult for Pak­istan to walk away from the meet­ing, but ac­cord­ing to a highly placed source op­tions were be­ing weighed. It is felt that Pak­istan is dis­ad­van­ta­geously placed in this for­mat of talks on ter­ror­ism. Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif and his In­dian coun­ter­part Naren­dra Modi had in their meet­ing at Ufa (Rus­sia) agreed that a meet­ing of the NSAs would be con­vened to "dis­cuss all is­sues con­nected to ter­ror­ism".

The in­vi­ta­tion for di­a­logue on ter­ror­ism comes in the shadow of the July 27 mil­i­tant at­tack in Gur­daspur, which In­dian lead­ers have blamed on Pak­istan. In­dian Home Min­is­ter Raj nath Singh had later, while speak­ing in par­lia­ment, warned of a "be­fit­ting re­ply". In­dian media has said that Delhi is try­ing to put the Gur d as­pur at­tack on the agenda of the pro­posed meet­ing.In­dia is fur­ther plan­ning to raise the is­sue of trial of al­leged Mum­bai plot­ters by a Pak­istani court and the bail for Zak­iur Rehman Lakhvi, the prin­ci­pal ac­cused in the case. Pak­istan would, mean­while, want to flag its con­cerns about In­dian in­volve­ment in ter­ror­ism in Karachi, Balochis­tan and tribal ar­eas. In­dia has long been ac­cused of fuelling in­sur­gency in Balochis­tan and un­rest in Karachi. In­dian in­tel­li­gence agency RAW is also re­port­edly pa­tro­n­is­ing mil­i­tant groups that have been fight­ing Pak­istan Army in tribal ar­eas.

On Fri­day, Mr Aziz, in a writ­ten state­ment in par­lia­ment, said the PM dur­ing his speech at the UN next month would speak about In­dian in­volve­ment in Pak­istan. "I think the prime min­is­ter is cer­tainly go­ing to use the fo­rum of the UNGA to high­light RAW's ac­tiv­i­ties in the coun­try," he had said.

A con­sid­er­a­tion is that the talks take place af­ter the In­dian par­lia­ment's mon­soon ses­sion, so that the Modi gov­ern­ment is not hemmed in by the op­po­si­tion ques­tion­ing his ad­min­is­tra­tion's "over­tures" to­wards Pak­istan, the pa­per said. Sig­nif­i­cantly, the pa­per said, In­dia had not blamed Pak­istan di­rectly for Gur­daspur at­tack and gave a more nu­anced ex­pla­na­tion. "While In­dia has not dir ectly blamed Pak­istan" for the at­tack, Home Min­is­ter Raj nath Singh has said a "pre­lim­i­nary anal­y­sis of GPS data" (found in pos­ses­sion of the three gun­men) in­di­cates that they had in­fil­trated "from Pak­istan" through the area near Tash in Gur­daspur, where the Ravi en­ters Pak­istan. "Se­cu­rity forces at the bor­der are alert, but the dif­fi­cult ter­rain cou­pled with re­cent heavy rain, re­sult­ing in ex­cess flow in rivers and canals along the bor­der, could have been a fac­tor in this group sneak­ing into Punjab," Mr Singh had said.

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