India, Pakistan hold ice-breaker dialogue

India, Pakistan hold ice-breaker dialogue

A letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached his Pakistani counterpart M Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday, as top diplomats of the two neighbouring countries had “ice-breaker” talks in Islamabad and moved closer to ending the two-year-long hiatus in bilateral engagement.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar met his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in Islamabad. The former also called on Sharif and handed over a letter from Modi.

Islamabad did accuse India of interfering in troubled Baluchistan region of Pakistan and even raked up the Samjhauta Express blast  to counter New Delhi’s nudge to speed up the trial of the seven Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives, whom the neighbouring country’s investigators arrested for plotting the November 26-28, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Both Jaishankar and Chaudhry told journalists later that the meeting was ‘positive’.

“Our talks were held in a constructive and positive atmosphere,” said Jaishankar, who embarked on a Saarc Yatra last Sunday and reached Islamabad on Tuesday.

He said New Delhi had conveyed to Islamabad its “known concerns” on anti-India terror emanating from Pakistan and frequent ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, not only along the Line of Control but also along the undisputed stretch of the border. “We agreed that ensuring peace and tranquility on the border was vital,” Jaishankar said after his meeting with Chaudhry.

A PTI report from Islamabad quoted Chaudhry stating that he had raised the issue of India’s involvement in Baluchistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. “We also raised the Samjhauta train attack in the talks,” he was quoted telling reporters after his meeting with Jaishankar. He was referring to February 19, 2007 explosion on Samjhauta Express train that runs between Delhi and Lahore.

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