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Pakistan’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaz Aziz to attend global meet in Amritsar

Pakistani Prime Minister’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaz Aziz will be in India on December 3-4, for the Heart of Asia (HoA) meet in Amritsar.

Pakistani Prime Minister’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaz Aziz will be in India on December 3-4, for the Heart of Asia (HoA) meet in Amritsar.  

Aziz’s visit is the first by a high-level Pakistani official since the postponement of the SAARC summit. “We have received an official confirmation from Pakistan that Aziz would be attending the HoA conference on Afghanistan,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Wednesday.

Aziz’s plan to travel for HoA meet will open up possibilities of round of high-level dialogue, in the backdrop of the ongoing exchange of fire. Sources have said that there might be a meet between Aziz and Indian diplomats. Aziz had earlier told Pakistani media about his plans to participate in the conference. “It’s a good opportunity to defuse tension,” he had said.

It is not clear yet, whether Aziz’s counterpart Sushma Swaraj will be travelling to Amritsar to attend the conference given that she is not well. That may result in either one of her junior ministers or some other cabinet ministers attending the conference.

After the SAARC summit of November was cancelled, Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar had talked about regional groups in South Asia without Pakistan. This had feared Pakistan of risking relations with other SAARC countries. Jaishankar had said that Pakistan should allow regional connectivity if it wished to remain a part of the South Asian regional grouping.

The meet on Afghanistan is likely to be addressed by PM Modi and  afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Participants from over 40 countries are expected to attend the two-day meet focused on development and security in Afghanistan.

Last year Heart of Asia meet was hosted by Pakistan and Sushma Swaraj had attended it after which she had bilateral talks with Aziz and announced the resumption of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD).

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