Swaraj to meet Pakistan PM Sharif, Sartaj Aziz today

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar speak to the media in Islamabad on Tuesday PTI

Will discuss all key issues including trade ties; may revive composite dialogue

In a significant breakthrough, the stalled composite dialogue between India and Pakistan is poised to resume after a series of hiccups with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Swaraj, who left for Pakistan late Tuesday evening, will be taking up “everything that is there on the table” such as peace and security, better management of border areas, Kashmir and Sir Creek dispute resolution and smoothening of trade and business ties, a top official who declined to be identified told BusinessLine.

“Everything that concerns both the governments will be discussed, nothing will be left out,” the official said.

The official also added that the government “intends” to continue this dialogue process until Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Pakistan for the 19th SAARC Summit in November 2016.

‘Heart of Asia’ summit

Swaraj, who will be participating at the ministerial meeting of the ‘Heart of Asia’ Summit on Afghanistan there, will be holding two separate meetings with Aziz followed by a bilateral with Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif on Wednesday afternoon before leaving for India.

Swaraj will be accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and other senior officials from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) during these meetings.

After her return on Wednesday night, she is expected to give a statement on Pakistan in both houses of Parliament.

“This government had been unpredictable with its foreign policy and with Pakistan it has been most difficult. This government will never use the word ‘composite’ dialogue but the issues it will discuss are the same that the previous government raised with Pakistan. Hopefully, the talks on economic and business issues should continue,” said Neelam Deo, director of a Mumbai-based foreign policy think-tank Gateway House and former diplomat.

Swaraj’s visit within a month of Prime Ministers Modi and Sharif’s 160-minute long meeting on November 30 on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris.

On December 6 both the National Security Advisors (NSAs) Ajit Doval and Naseer Khan Janjua met in Bangkok along with both foreign secretaries S Jaishankar and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry of Pakistan.

Published on December 08, 2015

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