Pakistan’s National Security (NSA) Advisor Mahmud Ali Durrani will be in India next week for meetings with top Indian officials.
This would be Durrani’s first visit to the country after taking charge as the NSA in April this year. His is a new designation in the Pakistani hierarchy.
According to official sources, Tariq Aziz, the back-channel during President Pervez Musharraf’s days, continues to remain in place despite having tendered his resignation as Secretary, National Security Council. The sources said that Aziz’s resignation has not yet been accepted. Aziz’s counterpart in India is Special Envoy Satinder K. Lambah, former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan.
Durrani is expected to meet a number of high-ranking officials, including his counterpart, M.K. Narayanan and senior officials in the External Affairs Ministry.
Durrani, who was a Major General in the Pakistan Army, is an old hand in the India-Pakistan peace process. He has also been actively involved in track-2 peace efforts between the two countries. Before being appointed NSA, Durrani was Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States.
Obviously, from India’s point of view — the issue of terrorism will top the agenda. Pakistan, it may be recalled, had promised to inquire into assertions made by India and the United States that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate was behind the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul in July.
In another development, the two governments are still to fix a date for a special meeting of the anti-terror mechanism, which was agreed upon when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met President Asif Ali Zardari in New York last month.