Thaw in Indo-Pak ties

Thaw in Indo-Pak ties

Thaw in Indo-Pak ties

India has lifted its objection over appointment of a nominee of Pakistan as the Secretary General of the Saarc, signalling a thaw in bilateral relations.

With New Delhi withdrawing its objection, Islamabad’s nominee Amjad Hussain B Sial took over as the new Secretary General of the Saarc at the secretariat of the eight-nation bloc in Kathmandu on Wednesday.

He succeeded Nepal’s Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who relinquished the office after completing his three-year-term on Tuesday. New Delhi earlier objected to Sial’s take-over as the new Secretary General of the Saarc. It, however, withdrew its objection recently, paving the way for Sial to take over the top office at the bloc's secretariat in the capital of Nepal.

The Saarc rule required Thapa to be succeeded by a nominee of Pakistan. Islamabad nominated Sial, a senior officer of Pakistan Foreign Service, to be the next Secretary General of the Saarc.

New Delhi, however, argued that his appointment should be confirmed by the Council of Ministers – a body comprising the foreign ministers of all the eight member nations – as stipulated by the Article V of the Memorandum of Agreement on establishment of the Saarc Secretariat.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers was scheduled to take place just before the 19th Saarc summit, which was to be held at Islamabad in November last year.

It, however, could not take place, as the bloc’s proposed 19th summit itself was postponed after India pulled out of it to protest continued export of terrorism from Pakistan, particularly the September 18, 2016 terror attack on an Indian Army camp at Uri in northern Kashmir.

Islamabad had to postpone the summit, as most of the other Saarc member nations too agreed New Delhi that the situation in the region was not conducive for holding the conclave. India and Pakistan also decided to hold a meeting of Permanent Indus Commission by the end of this year.