No progress in Indo-Pak ties after Modi assumed charge

No progress in Indo-Pak ties after Modi assumed charge

No progress in Indo-Pak ties after Modi assumed charge
A former foreign secretary of Pakistan has said that the progress made in mending bilateral ties during Congress-led UPA’s stint had been lost after Narendra Modi’s government took office.

“One issue that strikes me is that we need to pick up where we left. In the UPA administration a lot of work was done. It seems to us that all of this is sort of lost,” said Pakistan’s former foreign secretary Salman Bashir. “These two years of this present administration, in Pakistan we are at a loss to understand if there is really a Pakistan policy for India at this point in time.”

Bashir, who was Pakistan’s high commissioner to India from 2012 to 2014, was speaking at an event in New Delhi on Friday. He was also joined by two other former high commissioners of Pakistan to India, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and Aziz Ahmad Khan, and three former envoys of India to Pakistan, S K Lambah, G Parthasarathy and Shivshankar Menon.

The meeting of the former diplomats of India and Pakistan in New Delhi is part of a Track-II or non-official process of engagement between the two nations. This comes at a time when a move to restart the stalled bilateral dialogue came to a pause after the terror attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot.

“If you suspend the foreign secretary level talks just because the high commissioner (of Pakistan in India) has met the APHC (All Party Hurriyat Conference), it would mean that all that was done on the back channel side, has been lost. That’s the sort of thing that gives us a bit of unease as you are not quite sure where this government wants to take the relationship with Pakistan,” said Bashir.

The former diplomats of both the countries however suggested that the neighbours need to engage even in trying times including discussing issues as contentious as arrest of former Indian Navy officer Kul Bhusan Jadhav in Pakistan for “fomenting unrest in Balochistan”.

Parthasarathy, who was India’s envoy to Pakistan from 1998 to 2000, emphasised that charges against Jadhav were not based on facts, but agreed with his counterparts from the neighbouring country that the two sides should discuss such issues.

He charged that repeated attempts had been made in the past by the Pakistani authorities to abduct Jadhav, who was running a business in Iran.
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