Economy

India, Pakistan foreign secretary talks not yet cancelled

NAYANIMA BASU New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

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The government on Sunday said the pending dialogue of foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan have not been cancelled even as it said any policy with Pakistan will be based on a dialogue only between the two neighbours and there is no place for third party.

“With Pakistan the government has been firm on its stance based on three parameters. Firstly, we want to solve every issue through a dialogue process. Secondly, that dialogue will have only two parties – India and Pakistan. No other country or any other region can be party to this. And finally, terror and dialogue cannot go together,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told reporters during her annual media conference.

The decision to hold meetings between both foreign secretaries on a regular basis was decided in 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first bilateral meeting with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.

However, till date the dialogue has not happened smoothly due to the involvement of Hurriyat leaders over the Kashmir issues and then the Pathankot Air Force base attacks, which took place on January 2. As a result, the foreign secretary-level talks that were to take place in that month also got derailed.

Last year India and Pakistan initiated a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue, a revamped version of the previous Composite Dialogue, which involved all outstanding issues related to the Kashmir dispute, border issues, Siachen and Sir Creek among others.

“The foreign secretary level talks have not yet been cancelled. Neither we stopped it nor did Pakistan. But we expect that post the Pathankot incident there should be some action taken from their (Pakistan’s) side. To expect an outcome on this is not something unusual. So we are waiting for a concrete action from them,” Swaraj said.

She added that even after the Joint Investigative Team (JIT) from Pakistan visited the attack site and gathered all evidence there has been no action taken. However, she added that Pakistan is analyzing the leads collected and will take some time to review those.

Swaraj also expressed hopes that a team from the National Investigative Agency (NIA) will be allowed to visit Pakistan to further their probe.

Both foreign secretaries had last met in Islamabad on the sidelines of the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in December. 

Published on June 19, 2016

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