In Pak, Sushma will find ways to improve ties

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today reached Islamabad on a first-ever visit to the country by a minister in the Modi government. She said the relationship between India and Pakistan should be better and that she would hold talks to find ways to improve bilateral ties.
“I have come with the message that ties between the two countries should be good and move forward,” said Swaraj immediately after arriving here on a two-day visit.
She will hold talks with her Pakistan counterpart Sartaj Aziz and call on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tomorrow.
Swaraj is in Pakistan to lead the Indian delegation at the “Heart of Asia” 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan tomorrow.
She refused to share what she would be discussing with Pakistan leaders, but said: “What will happen during the talks will be known after meeting.”
Invited by Pakistan to attend the multilateral meet on Afghanistan, Swaraj will attend the conference tomorrow before holding talks with Aziz, who said the focus would be on the resumption of composite dialogue process.
“Heart of Asia conference is very important for India because it is associated with Afghanistan. That is why I have come here to participate. Since it is happening in Pakistan, it is necessary and appropriate for me to meet PM Sharif and hold talks with my counterpart Aziz to talk about improving the bilateral ties and take them forward,” Swaraj said.
Adopting a cautious approach over the agenda of talks between Swaraj and Aziz, Indian officials said they would see how the meeting goes and if there would be any point of convergence.
Swaraj’s visit comes after talks between the National Security Advisers of India and Pakistan in Bangkok on Sunday, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues besides agreeing to carry forward the “constructive” engagement.
Aziz had yesterday said the deadlock in Indo-Pak ties had eased to some extent. During his talks with Swaraj, Aziz said he would discuss various matters with focus on resumption of composite dialogue process between the two countries.
Swaraj’s trip came three years after former external affairs minister SM Krishna’s visit here in 2012 when the two sides inked a visa liberalisation pact.
Swaraj is accompanied by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who was also present during the four-hour-long meeting between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Naseer Janjua in the Thai capital.
The joint statement after the meeting of NSAs said the talks were held pursuant to a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sharif on the sidelines of the climate meet in Paris, rejecting the version given by the Indian side then that it was a mere "exchange of courtesies".
Sharif had told Pakistani media that he had a "good meeting" with Modi and "doors of dialogue should open". Before Paris, Modi and Sharif had held bilateral meeting in Russian city of Ufa where they decided that their NSAs would meet to discuss all "terror-related" issues. However, Pakistan had called-off Aziz's visit after New Delhi had made it clear that he would not be allowed to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders in the Indian capital.