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Pakistan Describes Recent Talks with India as Positive

  • Ayaz Gul

FILE - Adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz

FILE - Adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz

Pakistan said recent talks with rival India have eased bilateral tensions and revived prospects for the resumption of a “meaningful” dialogue to address issues dividing the two countries.

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani prime minister's adviser on national security and foreign policy, told an international seminar in Islamabad Sunday the government is working for a peaceful neighborhood.

As part of that policy, he added, Pakistan has reached out to India for a rapprochement leading to a solution of longstanding disputes, including the conflict over the divided Kashmir region.

Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited Islamabad last week to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry. That contact took place nearly seven months after New Delhi suspended the dialogue process with Islamabad to protest a meeting between Pakistan’s top diplomat in India and separatist leaders from the Indian-ruled Kashmir.

'Meaningful dialogue'

Tensions have since mounted as Indian and Pakistani troops frequently exchanged fire across the disputed Kashmir frontier, causing casualties on both sides.

"Recent talks between the foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India have revived project for the resumption of a meaningful dialogue process and helped reduce tension," Aziz said.

The Pakistani adviser hoped that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Islamabad next year to attend a summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to be hosted by Pakistan.

Aziz said that more meetings are expected between India and Pakistan as a result of last week’s foreign secretary-level dialogue, but cautioned it would be premature to discuss their nature and timeframe.

He reiterated that Kashmir will be part of any future dialogue Pakistan will hold with India and described “trust deficit” as the main problem between the two countries.

Aziz said building trust will take time, but it is key to resolving disputes dividing India and Pakistan.

Kashmir has triggered two of the three wars between the nuclear-armed neighbors and it remains a major source of regional tensions. Both sides claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety.

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