CHENNAI: A day after the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan met secretly in Pakistan, India formally announced that Sushma Swaraj will travel to Pakistan on Tuesday — the first such visit by an External Affairs Minister in three years.
“EAM @SushmaSwaraj to lead Indian delegation for Heart of Asia 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on December 9 in Islamabad,” announced MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup early on Monday. The formal announcement came less than 24 hours after the two NSAs, along with the foreign secretaries, met dramatically in a Bangkok airport hotel in Thailand for four hours on Sunday.
Swaraj, accompanied by foreign secretary S Jaishankar, will leave for Pakistan on Tuesday and return on Wednesday. Besides attending the multilateral meeting, she will also call on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and hold discussions with her counterpart Sartaj Aziz.
“At Pakistan’s invitation, the Indian foreign minister will arrive in Islamabad tomorrow to attend the Heart of Asia conference,” Sartaj told reporters in Islamabad, welcoming the Indian Minister. “This is a good beginning, that the deadlock that was present has to some extent been removed,” he said. The last time that an Indian foreign minister visited Pakistan was in September 2012 when SM Krishna met with Hina Rabbani Khar.