Pakistan has informed India it will release 173 out of 526 Indian prisoners next week in what some are interpreting as a sign of thaw.
MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that there was 'expectation of return soon' - and they had been informed that 173 prisoners would be released and repatriated on February 16.
India and Pakistan have not had official talks at the political or senior foreign ministry level ever since Delhi cancelled talks after the Pakistan high court met Kashmiri separatist. There has been speculation that the two countries have been engaged in back channel dialogue and may well resume talks soon. But officials have denied any such development and said nothing should be read into the prisoner release.