By: Ali Hussain
The foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India will meet in New Delhi on Tuesday (today) to discuss the stalled dialogue process between the two countries, it was learnt. According to Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry will lead Pakistan delegation to a Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process meeting in New Delhi on April 26 (today).
Pakistan has continued to play an active role in the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process, which was established in 2011 as a platform to discuss regional issues including security, economic cooperation and connectivity among Afghanistan, its neighbours and regional countries with a view to promoting lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Pakistan hosted the fifth Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Islamabad on 9 December 2015. The Conference adopted a forward looking Islamabad Declaration entitled “Emphasising Enhanced Cooperation for Countering Security Threats and Promoting Regional Connectivity”.
“Pakistan looks forward to active participation in the forthcoming Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia process reflecting our commitment to efforts for promoting long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Zakaria said, adding Pakistan delegation will also hold bilateral meetings with other leading delegations attending the meeting.
The spokesperson did not mention about Foreign Secretary’s meeting with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, however, diplomatic sources maintained that the two foreign secretaries will meet on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process meeting to discuss the stalled dialogue process between the two countries.
A scheduled meeting of the top diplomats of the two countries could not be held on January 15, 2016 in Islamabad due to the January 02, 2016 terror attack on India’s Pathankot airbase. Indian media reported that Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will raise the Pathankot probe with Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry in the meeting on Tuesday and also reiterated New Delhi’s concerns on Masood Azhar, the chief of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, which is being blamed for the Pathankot attack.
On December 09, 2015, the two countries decided to commence ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ to discuss all outstanding issues after a meeting held between Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process, hosted by Pakistan in Islamabad. On the sidelines of the meeting, the sources further said that Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry will also hold talks with the Afghan delegation to discuss the Afghan peace process.
Source: Business Recorder