Pakistan, India talks needed for regional stability: Envoy
Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit stressed the need for uninterrupted talks between Pakistan and India for peace and regional stability. Basit, while addressing a function in Jaipur, said dialogue is the only way to improve ties between Pakistan and India. Citing Kashmir as the root cause of all issues between the two countries, he said an environment of cooperation must persist for resolution of disputes.
Talks between foreign secretaries were to take place after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'surprise' visit to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the occasion of his granddaughter's wedding last year, but were relegated to the back burner after a siege on India's Pathankot air base in January. India claims the air base attackers had come from Pakistan and had "probably crossed the border adjacent to the Pathankot general area", according to Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. Following Indian accusations that militant group Jaish-i-Mohammad was responsible for the attacks, Pakistani authorities cracked down on the group, sealing a Jaish-run seminary in Sialkot and taking group leader Masood Azhar into protective custody. Since then, a First-Information Report has been registered by the Counter-Terrorism Department against the air base attackers and two Joint Investigation Teams were constituted to probe the attack. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz last week said that a Pakistani team will visit India "in the next few days" to investigate the Pathankot attack and expressed hope that the foreign secretary-level talks would be scheduled soon after. He pointed out that since the attack, Pakistan had taken a number of "important steps" for resumption of the talks. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah earlier said the registration of an FIR should dispel misgivings other countries have regarding Pakistan's commitment towards eradicating terrorism, in what appeared to be a response to accusations by Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that Pakistan was not serious about the Pathankot probe.