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Swaraj to make statement in Parliament today on India-Pak talks

india Updated: Dec 14, 2015 10:03 IST
HT Correspondent
Sushma Swaraj

In this handout photograph released by the Pakistan Press Information Department (PID), Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (L) speaks with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj as Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s adviser on foreign affairs (R), looks on during the first day of the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad.(AFP Photo)

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is set to make a statement in both houses of Parliament on Monday on her two-day visit to Pakistan and the resumption of bilateral talks.

“I will make a statement on my recent visit to Islamabad tomorrow at 11 am in Rajya Sabha and at 2 pm in Lok Sabha,” Swaraj tweeted on Sunday.

A release from the parliamentary affairs ministry confirmed that Swaraj will make a statement on “developments relating to ties between India and Pakistan” in both the houses this week

“This is one of the major agenda items,” the statement added.

India and Pakistan had on December 9 announced in Islamabad that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue that will include peace and security, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Three days before that happened, the national security advisers of both countries met in Bangkok to resume the process which had been called off in August amid an exchange of harsh rhetoric.

Read | Why Sushma Swaraj’s Pakistan visit hinged on NSA talks

Sources in the government told Hindustan Times that the NSA talks could take place only because New Delhi had asked for it before Swaraj travelled to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia summit.

In September, when Pakistan suggested that the two foreign ministers meet in New York, the external affairs ministry got back saying such an exercise would be futile if it was not preceded by NSA-level talks.

“We then heard from Pakistan that a NSA-level meeting would be difficult at this stage because retired lieutenant general Naseer Khan Janjua had just taken over the role of the NSA and may not be prepared to lay foundation for the resumption of dialogue process,” a source in south block said.

But India stuck to its guns and finally Swaraj had some ground to prepare for resumption of the composite dialogue process.

“We were categorical that the NSA-level talks should happen before Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad. We appreciate that Pakistan realised its importance and agreed,” the source said.

In Islamabad the two sides came out with a joint statement on resumption of talks, capping a series of positive developments since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Paris.

The details on how India and Pakistan plans to take it forward would be known only after Swaraj makes her statement in Parliament.

(With inputs from agencies)

Read | India-Pakistan ties: 6 takeaways from NSA-level talks in Bangkok