ISLAMABAD: Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Tuesday said ensuring peace and tranquility along the Line of Control and Working Boundary is vital.
"This visit is part of the SAARC yatra to improve relations among SAARC countries as part of the initiative taken by the Indian PM," Jaishankar said while addressing the media.
"This visit also provided an opportunity to discuss bilateral relations," the Indian foreign secretary added.
He said the two countries have agreed to narrow down their differences on various issues.
Jaishankar also raised India’s concerns regarding cross-border terrorism, including the trial of suspects in the case of the Mumbai attacks.
"Both sides raised concerns, and this visit is an ice-breaking development," said Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Alsman
Claiming Pakistan is the next SAARC host, Indian foreign secretary said, “India would like to work with Pakistan, to help SAARC achieve its potential.”
Further, he said, “I look forward to calling on the prime minister later this evening.”
Further, the Indian foreign secretary has arrived at the PM House and is currently meeting the premier.
Indian foreign secretary meets Pakistani counterpart on two-day visit
Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who arrived in Islamabad Tuesday morning, met his counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry to discuss issues related to the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation, Express News reported.
This is the first meeting between the two officials since New Delhi called off talks last year aimed at easing the rivals’ many disputes.
Jaishankar had requested for a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his two-day visit, however, the official schedule only states meetings with Chaudhry and Sartaj Aziz so far.
The Pakistani side had expressed hope for resuming negotiations known as the Composite Dialogue, so-called because they aim to address multiple overlapping issues including Kashmir, cross-border terrorism, border and water issues.
“I wouldn’t like to speculate, but naturally the two secretaries will also discuss bilateral relations,” said Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam. “We hope that this process can lead to the resumption of the Composite Dialogue.”
A senior Indian diplomat was more cautious late last week, saying that he was “hesitant to predict” whether Tuesday’s meeting would lay the groundwork for restarting negotiations.
Islamabad is expected to propose a series of new confidence-building measures (CBMs) in an effort to put the rollercoaster relationship back on track.
Read: Breaking the deadlock: Pakistan to offer India new CBMs
The new CBMs include a proposal to restore the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two archrivals along their de facto and de jure borders where sporadic outbreak of hostilities have bedeviled their relations in recent months.
Meanwhile, army chief General Raheel Sharif warned India that Pakistan will give a ‘befitting’ response to any provocation along the Line of Control (LoC) and the working boundary ahead of the crucial meeting.
Read: Ahead of secretary-level talks: Army chief warns India to expect matching response
“Let there be no doubt that any provocation along LoC and working boundary will meet a befitting response,” the military’s chief spokesman quoted Gen Raheel as saying during a visit to areas affected by Indian firing along the working boundary near Sialkot on Thursday.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August abruptly cancelled the last round of talks in Islamabad out of anger that Pakistan’s envoy in New Delhi had hosted Kashmiri separatists in preparation.
On Sunday in Kashmir, Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party formed a coalition state government with the regional People’s Democratic Party, which promotes self-rule for Indian-controlled Kashmir and peace talks with militant separatists. The new coalition offered a sign that cooperation is possible.
Another sign Modi might be warming to the idea of improving relations: the Indian leader telephoned Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last month to wish his country luck in the World Cup cricket tournament. India won its match with Pakistan in the tournament a day later.
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