Revival of talks :FMs of Pakistan, India to meet next week

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By Muhammad Luqman

Indian External Affairs Minister , Ms. Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister ,Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be meeting in New York on September 27on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly Session.

The meeting follows a letter of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to his indian counterpart , Narendra Modi for resumption of dialogue.

According to Indian media, the Spokesman for the Indian External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar confirmed on Thursday saying, ‘I can confirm that on the request of the Pakistani side, a meeting between Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi will take place on the sidelines of UNGA at a mutually convenient date and time,’.

He added “We have just agreed to the meeting. The agenda is not finalized.”

Raveesh Kumar said that India would not support the holding of SAARC summit in Pakistan.

The development came shortly after Indian media reported that Pakistani PM Imran Khan has written to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for resumption of dialogue between the two countries.

This will be the first ministerial-level engagement with Pakistan after Imran Khan assumed office as Prime Minister of Pakistan last month.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has written to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, seeking to resolve outstanding disputes between the two nuclear-armed nations, including the issue of Kashmir.2

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal tweeted that Khan’s letter reciprocated Indian Premier Narendra Modi’s call earlier this month for “meaningful and constructive engagement.”

Khan said that relations between Pakistan and India are challenging but said issues must be resolved peacefully.

“We owe it to our people, especially the future generations, to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispu3te,” he wrote.

Khan said Pakistan is ready to discuss the issue of terrorism, a top priority for India. He also asked that the two countries’ foreign ministers meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York later this month.2

The development , according to analysts, is a welcome development to help restart stalled talks between the two nuclear-armed rivals in South Asia. Pa22kistan and India have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

With Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party gearing for elections by the middle of 2019, prospects of a rapprochement are low. The BJP has long advocated a tough stance towards Pakistan. Yet, the resumption of dialogue may help bring down the tempers in the India-Pakistan relations that have gone up.

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