Pathankot likely to figure during Swaraj-Aziz meet in Nepal today

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Mar 17, 2016 11:02 IST
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz at a dinner during the SAARC meeting in Pokhara, Nepal on Wednesday. (PTI)

The Pathankot airbase attack is likely to figure in a meeting on Thursday between India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines of the ongoing Saarc conclave in Nepal.

The meeting will be the first high-level interaction between the two countries sides since the Indian Air Force base was attacked in January, leaving Indian security personnel dead.

Six militants, believed to be from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), were also killed during the 84-hour siege of the airbase.

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Swaraj and Aziz are in the resort town of Pokhara to take part in the foreign ministerial-level meeting of the regional body.

The meeting will be the first thing on Swaraj’s agenda immediately after conclusion of the Saarc meet, where discussions are underway on progress made since the 2014 summit in Kathmandu.

“The main agenda of the meeting is for Aziz to extend invitation for the Saarc summit in Islamabad later this year. But they would obviously talk of other issues including terror attacks,” a senior Indian diplomat told HT.

Foreign-secretary level talks between both the warring neighbours have remained suspended since the Pathankot incident.

The two exchanged pleasantries and talked at length on Wednesday evening during a dinner hosted by the Nepal government.

Read More | Sushma, Aziz exchange pleasantries during dinner hosted by Nepal PM

Besides her meeting with Aziz, Swaraj will also meet her counterparts from other Saarc nations.

The external affairs minister held two separate meetings with Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and her Nepali counterpart Kamal Thapa on Wednesday evening where they discussed bilateral issues.

“Discussions revolved round on the entire range of bilateral issues,” said another Indian diplomat present at the venue.

Implementation of the newly-adopted constitution of Nepal and ways to handle the demands of Madhesi parties, who are seeking fresh demarcation of state boundaries, also figured during the deliberations.

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