Back Channel Diplomacy: NSAs helped defuse India-Pakistan  standoff

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By Muhammad Luqman

A telephonic conversation between Pakistani National Security Adviser Lt. General (r)  Nasser Janjua and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on March 26 helped end a standoff between both nations over diplomats’ harassment, according to Indian media reports.

Janjua and Doval agreed on the issue being resolved under the 1992 Code of Conduct governing treatment of diplomatic and consular staff stationed in both countries. The Pakistani High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood and his Islamabad counterpart, Ajay Bisaria also worked with local authorities, Times of India reported.

Last week, Pakistan and India agreed to address the issue of diplomats’ harassment through talks. The development came as a result of back-channel diplomacy between the two states to prevent the situation from getting out of control.

Both New Delhi and Islamabad issued a simultaneous statement in this regard. “India and Pakistan have mutually agreed to resolve matters related to the treatment of diplomats and diplomatic premises in line with the 1992 Code of Conduct on treatment of diplomatic/consular personnel”, Pakistan’s foreign office statement said.

The 1992 accord provides a comprehensive code of conduct for treatment of diplomats and other staff posted in New Delhi and Islamabad. The code of conduct envisages both sides ensure safety and security of diplomats and shall not resort to intrusive and aggressive surveillance as well as harassment of diplomats and other staff.

Bilateral ties have been strained for months due to the frequent border clashes between the troops deployed along the Line of Control and Working Boundary. Relations deteriorated further after Pakistan accused Indian secret agencies of harassing diplomatic staff and their families. Pakistan said there had been at least 26 instances when Indian secret agencies harassed Pakistani diplomats and their families in New Delhi.

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