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Lakhvi release, LoC firing, Myanmar rumble: All about India-Pak ties

india Updated: Jul 10, 2015 14:00 IST
HT Correspondent
Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif ahead of bilateral talks in Russia's Ufa on Friday. (Photo: PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of a summit at Ufa in Russia on Friday, a move that raised hopes for a thaw in ties between the two countries.

The US welcomed the meeting, saying a rise in tensions in the region was in nobody's interest. "We also welcome any steps that both countries can take to try to reduce the tensions," US state department spokesperson John Kirby said. "That's been our long-standing position."

The meeting came days after Modi telephoned Sharif on June 16 to convey Ramzan greetings and stressed the need for peaceful and bilateral ties. India also released 88 Pakistani fishermen, while Pakistan freed 111 Indians.

Modi and Sharif met last November during the Saarc Summit in Kathmandu, but they did not hold any bilateral meeting. Pakistan stymied a SAARC agreement on motor vehicles during the summit that was intended to improve connectivity between South Asian nations.

The two leaders had held a bilateral meeting on May 26 last year during Modi’s swearing-in. They exchanged gifts - the sari-shawl diplomacy - and tweets, raising hopes of improved ties between the nuclear-armed rivals.

But continued firing at the border, in violation of the 2003 ceasefire, which claimed the lives of security personnel, and the Pakistani envoy hobnobbing with Kashmiri separatists last August saw India calling off foreign secretary-level talks at the last moment.

Ties nosedived after that, and Pakistan's raising the Kashmir issue at international forums did not help matters.

Here's a look at last year's sticky points as well as the efforts to reach out.


# No breakthrough in India-Pak relations since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks

# Heightened tension since last year over the release of Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who masterminded the attacks from a Karachi control room

# Strong words exchanged between the two neighbours after Myanmar cross-border strike

# The $46-billion Pakistan-China Economic Corridor has become the latest irritant in bilateral ties as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir

# No forward movement by Pakistan to improve trade ties despite a promise to grant Most Favoured Nation status

# Recent remarks by top Pakistani civil and military leaders blaming India’s external spy agency RAW for terrorism without giving any evidence to back the claims

India's concerns

# Free run to Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed, bail for Lakhvi, no action by Pakistan after JuD was banned by the UNSC in 2008

# Pakistan raising the issue of Kashmir, which Pakistan Army chief Raheel Sharif has described as “unfinished business”

Chequered past

# August 16, 2014: NDA government calls off foreign secretary-level talks after Pakistan high commissioner meets Hurriyat leaders in Delhi.

# Dialogue disrupted; Pakistan responds, calling cancellation an “overreaction”. Raises Kashmir issue

# November 28, 2014: Modi and Sharif shake hands at SAARC retreat in Dhulikhel, Nepal, but are unable to break the ice

# March 3, 2015: Foreign secretary S Jaishankar visits Islamabad as part of Saarc Yatra. No formal resumption of dialogue announced

Phone diplomacy

# No formal talks but the PMs spoke to each other four times between December 2014 and June 2015

# December 17, 2014: First sign of a thaw after Modi calls Sharif to condole the death of 132 students in a brutal terror attack on a Peshawar school

# February13, 2015: Modi calls Saarc leaders including Sharif to wish them well ahead of the Cricket World Cup

# May 1, 2015: Sharif phones Modi to condole Indian deaths after an earthquake ravages Nepal and parts of Bihar

# June 16: Modi calls Sharif at the beginning of Ramzan. As a goodwill gesture, both countries release fishermen from jail

Read:Modi, Sharif hour-long talks end after smiles and warm handshake