To talk Pathankot, NIA visit
New Delhi, April 25: In a sudden move, the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) during which the issues dogging the bilateral ties including the Pathankot strike will be discussed.
Primarily, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry will be here on a day-long visit to attend the ‘Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process’. An announcement to this effect was made in Islamabad.
On the sidelines of the meet, Chaudhry will hold bilateral talks with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar to review the status of bilateral ties and Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue (CBD), which is stagnant.
According to sources,”the focus of the talks would be on the investigation into the Pathankot terror strike and a possible visit by NIA team to Pakistan in this connection.”
This will be first formal meeting between Jaishankar and Chaudhry after the announcement of CBD by the Foreign Ministers in Islamabad last December. The two secretaries had a informal brief interaction during a SAARC meeting in Nepal in March this year.
The efforts to resume CBD at the Foreign Secretary-level hit a deadlock after the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase in January that India said was carried out by militants from the Pakistan-based group.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s recent comments that the bilateral peace process was suspended, evoking a sharp reaction by Indian side, which maintained that communication channels were on at various levels but also made it clear it wants to see action on Pathankot first before the dialogue could be resumed.
The Foreign Office said Pakistan looks forward to active participation in the forthcoming Heart of Asia meeting, reflecting “our commitment to efforts for promoting long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan”.
It said that Pakistan delegation will also hold bilateral meetings with other leading delegations attending the meeting.
Pakistan has continued to play an active role in the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process, which was established in 2011 as a platform to discuss regional issues including security, economic cooperation and connectivity among Afghanistan, its neighbours and regional countries with a view to promote lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, the Foreign Office statement said.
Pakistan had hosted the fifth Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Islamabad on December 9, 2015.