EAM Sushma Swaraj leaves for Islamabad today

Meet may lead to resumption of dialogue

EAM Sushma Swaraj leaves for Islamabad today
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is set to visit Islamabad from Tuesday, even as the government drew flak from within the ruling coalition as well as the opposition parties after National Security Advisor and Foreign Secretary met their counterparts from Pakistan in Bangkok on Sunday.

Though Swaraj will visit Islamabad to represent New Delhi in a multilateral conclave on Afghanistan, she will also have a bilateral meeting with her host and counterpart, Sartaj Aziz, on the sideline. The meeting between Swaraj and Aziz may lead to resumption of India-Pakistan dialogue, which remained suspended since January 2013.  

“EAM @SushmaSwaraj to lead Indian delegation for Heart of Asia 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on December 9 in Islamabad,” External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup posted on Twitter on Monday.

A Press Trust of India report from Islamabad quoted Aziz, Foreign Affairs Advisor of Pakistan Prime Minister M Nawaz Sharif, telling mediapersons that his meeting with Swaraj would focus on “resumption of composite dialogue process” between the two neighbouring countries.

New Delhi suspended talks after November 26-28, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. It was resumed in March 2011, but was again suspended in January 2013 after two Indian soldiers were brutally killed on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

The government announced External Affairs Minister’s visit to Islamabad just a day after India and Pakistan sprang a surprise with a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his counterpart Naseer Khan Janjua at a hotel in the Suvarnabhumim Airport in Bangkok. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry were also present during the four-hour-long meeting, which took place away from media glare. It was made public only later, when a joint press release was issued both in New Delhi and Islamabad. 

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