Pakistan and India will finally hold security talks on August 23, according to Pakistani Foreign Policy Chief and National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz.
“I can confirm that I will be going to India on August 23 for talks,” said Aziz during a press conference in Islamabad when asked if the Pakistani government plans to cancel the planned security talks with the Indian government.
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India and Pakistan recently joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a security group led by China and Russia.
During the SCO summit in Ufa, Russia last month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met and agreed on a roadmap to improve the relations between both countries. They discussed concerns about terrorism and agreed that their national security advisors should hold a meeting soon to discuss the issue.
India-Pakistan talks an ice breaker on some issues
Aziz emphasized that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believes in a dialogue to solve problems. He noted that India cancelled the meeting of the foreign secretaries of both countries on August 25, last year. India suspended the meeting after Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit held talks with Kashmiri separatists.
He added that the upcoming security talks between India and Pakistan is “not a breakthrough” when it comes to all issues. However, he emphasized that it is an ice breaker on certain issues.
According to reports, Pakistan wants to discuss the issues involving the unrest in Balochistan, the financial hub of Karachi and the tribal areas during the NSA meeting with India. Pakistani government wants to resolve these issues since its army corps commanders accused India of “whipping up terrorism” in the country in May.
On the other hand, India is expected to raise its concern regarding the increasing violence (including the recent attacks in Gurdaspur and Udhampur) from terrorist groups based in Pakistan such as Lashkar-e-Taiba. Indian National Security advisor Doval is also expected to discuss the slow pace of the 26/11 trial and bail for Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the military commander responsible for coordinating the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.
Aziz said, “Let is hope that it would lead to a further comprehensive dialogue on all the issues between the two countries. So, we do believe in a dialogue to resolve issues.” Furthermore, he said India proposed the August 23 to 24 meeting between him and his counterpart Ajit Doval.
India has not yeat received a formal confirmation regarding the meeting from Pakistan. Vikas Swarup, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said they learned the confirmation through the media. He said, On NSA talks, we have no official confirmation [from Pakistan].”
Pakistan is expected to send an official confirmation to India over the next few days. A Pakistani official said, “Maybe after our Independence Day weekend.” August 14 is Pakistan’s Independence Day, and it is a holiday.
Recent exchange fires between India and Pakistan
Last month, political observers suggested that recent exchange fires between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control, the de facto between the countries caused damaged to the hopes of improving the relations between the two nuclear-armed countries. The fire exchanged caused civilian casualties
India and Pakistan accused each other blamed each other for the recent incident. The Indian Army accused Pakistan of “provoking unrest” and warned of “unexpected damage” to prevent another similar incident.
Pakistan rejected the blame and chose a diplomatic route to resolve the issue. The country’s Foreign Office warned that India’s provocative accusations posed threat to the peace and security in the region.