Foreign secretaries meet, agenda Pathankot
Foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan are meeting in Delhi today. It is expected that the Pathankot terror attack that has strained the relation between the two countries will come up in the discussion. Pakistan foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry was welcomed by his Indian counterpart S Jaishanker at latter’s office in the morning. This is first meeting between two secretaries after the Pathankot terror attack.
Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry is in New Delhi on a day-long visit to attend the ‘Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process’. It was an unexpected move from both the countries to have secretary level talks.
Both are said to be discussing ways to take forward Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue (CBD), which is stagnant.
The focus of the meeting will definitely be Pathankot terror attack and the NIA’s possible visit to Pakistan
This will be first formal meeting between Mr Jaishankar and Mr 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. India has consistently said attack was carried out by terrorists from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s recent comments that the bilateral peace process was suspended. He also said that NIA visit to Pakistan may not be possible.
India reacted sharply to this statement by Pakistan envoy.
Announcing Mr Chaudhry’s visit, the Pakistan Foreign Office, in a statement in Islamabad had said,”Pakistan delegation will also hold bilateral meetings with other leading delegations attending the meeting.”
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 added.
Pakistan had hosted the fifth Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Islamabad on December 9, 2015.