NEW DELHI: Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan on Tuesday met four months after the bilateral talks scheduled to be held in January derailed after the Pathankot terror attack. The meeting, however, happened on the sidelines of the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference.
New Delhi conveyed in clear terms that Pakistan “cannot be in denial on the impact of terrorism on the bilateral relationship”, while Pakistan raised Kashmir, terming it the core issue. Interestingly, the Pakistani side breached protocol by releasing the talking points while the meeting between the two foreign secretaries was still on.
India emphasised that it expected urgent action against Masood Azhar, the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief who masterminded the Pathankot airbase strike. The meeting between Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry was to be held in January, but was delayed after the deadly terror strike at Pathankot in which seven military personnel were killed. Jaishankar also stressed that India recently moved to have Azhar declared a terrorist by a UN sanctions committee, a move blocked by China allegedly at the behest of Pakistan.
The Pakistan High Commission said Chaudhry expressed confidence that building on the goodwill generated by the recent talks, the two countries would remain committed to a sustained, meaningful and comprehensive dialogue process.
In this spirit, the Foreign Secretary underscored the need for the early commencement of comprehensive dialogue for which Jaishankar is due to visit Pakistan, the High Commission said. The meeting lasted nearly 90 minutes, during which sticky issues, including the probe into the Pathankot terror attack, the 26/11 Mumbai attacks trial and Samjhauta Express blast investigations, were raised.
During the meeting, India raised the issue of the “abduction” of former Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.