Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz met with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday, on the sidelines of Asean Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in Brunei.
Aziz said that trade and economic cooperation between the two countries could act as a catalyst and raise the confidence level on both sides.
He also appreciated the recent visit of the Indian energy mission to Pakistan and said it was necessary for the two counties to discuss all outstanding issues through confidence building measures in order to ensure lasting peace in the region.
Referring to the positive outcome of the ARF meeting, both leaders were of the view that regional cooperation would give an impetus to the economic development and prosperity of South Asia.
The Indian External Affairs Minister conveyed greetings from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and expressed his government’s desire to engage with Pakistan on all issues. Both expressed the hope that the bilateral dialogue process would resume in next few months.
Meeting with Kerry
Aziz also met US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday to discuss bilateral cooperation in the post-2014 period, according to Foreign Office Spokesman. The spokesman said that the adviser emphasised the need for holding the next round of Strategic Dialogue at ministerial level between the two countries.
The Strategic Dialogue process provides an institutional mechanism to strengthen bilateral relations through different working groups and in this regard Pakistan is looking forward to Kerry’s visit to Pakistan.
Aziz also highlighted that the main focus of the foreign policy of the newly elected government will be economic revival.
The two sides must make efforts to increase trade from the current level of $5 billion to $10 billion in the next five years.
Kerry appreciated the new government’s focus on the economy and emphasised that improved law and order was also necessary for economic revival.
Aziz expressed hope that the two sides would be able to have a comprehensive discussion for cooperation in several areas during Kerry’s visit to Pakistan later in the month.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2013.