Pakistan’s foreign policy chief will visit India for security talks on August 23, he said Thursday, in the two neighbors’ first attempt in months to restart efforts to improve ties despite intermittent violence on their border, agencies report.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, had agreed to a new round of talks when they met in Russia last month.
As part of the rapprochement effort, the two agreed that India’s national security adviser, Ajit Doval, would hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Sartaj Aziz.
Since the prime ministers’ meeting, however, a series of militant attacks and border skirmishes have poisoned the atmosphere.
The prospects of talks between the national security advisers (NSA) appeared all the more grim after Pakistan recently summoned the Indian High Commissioner to the Foreign Office and lodged a strong protest over the latest ceasefire violation across the Line of Control (LoC) leading to the the death of a Pakistani civilian.
Nevertheless, Aziz said he would be travelling to the Indian capital, New Delhi, next week and he hoped the talks would at least break the ice on some of a range of outstanding issues.
“Our prime minister has always believed in dialogue as far as India is concerned,” Aziz told a news conference in Islamabad. “So I’ll be going there this month.”
Dawood, 26/11 to figure in talks
Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, speedy trial in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case and capture of a Pakistani terrorist in Udhampur are some of the key issues to be raised by India at the forthcoming NSA-level talks with Pakistan.
Recent terror attack in Punjab’s Gurdaspur, cross-border firing, infiltration from across the border and presence of militants’ camps in Pakistan will also be on the table.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval Thursday held a meeting with Home Secretary L C Goyal, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar and top security officials.
India is expected to give evidence to Islamabad that the three terrorists, who carried out the attack in Gurdaspur last month, came from Pakistan and Mohammed Naved Yakub, arrested in Udhampur in Jammu recently after an ambush on a BSF convoy, was a Pakistani national.
Doval is likely to press for handing over of Dawood, a key accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, and expeditious and comprehensive trial of 26/11 case to ensure that LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and the outfit’s operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi are punished, sources said.
The regular, unprovoked firing from across the border targeting BSF posts and civilian population in Jammu and Kashmir is also expected to figure in the talks.
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