Indian, Pakistani foreign secretaries exchange pleasantries at Saarc dinner
Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Choudhry exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the South Asian Association of Regional Conference (Saarc) meet underway in Nepal.india Updated: Mar 16, 2016 11:51 IST
Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Choudhry exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the South Asian Association of Regional Conference (Saarc) meet underway in Nepal.
Both secretaries had a brief interaction on Tuesday evening after the conclusion of the meeting between the foreign secretaries of all eight Saarc member countries.
“There were no structured or formal talks, but they interacted during the event and also exchanged pleasantries,” a senior Indian embassy diplomat present at the venue in the resort town of Pokhara said.
Both senior diplomats were also together at a dinner meet along with other dignitaries.
This is the first time Jaishankar and Choudhry have come face to face since cancellation of the foreign secretary-level talks between both neighbours after the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase in January.
Though there were no talks between the two, a meeting between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Sartaj Aziz, the foreign affairs adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is expected on Thursday.
“We are preparing the groundwork for the meeting by consulting with the Pakistani side and both Swaraj and Aziz are likely to hold talks after the meeting of Saarc foreign ministers,” the embassy diplomat said.
Aziz is expected to hand over an invitation from Sharif for the 19th Saarc summit to be held later this year at Islamabad.
It will be the first ministerial engagement after the Pathankot attack derailed talks between the two neighbours.
Seven soldiers were killed when suspected Pakistani militants laid siege to the Indian Air Force facility in the border state of Punjab on January 2. Though Islamabad has registered a case, it has not given the dates for a visit by a Pakistani probe team, vital to the investigation as well as well as bilateral ties.
Foreign secretaries of all Saarc nations are meeting on Wednesday to discuss progress on plans prepared at the last summit in Kathmandu.
The four-day meet, which began on Monday, will conclude with a meeting of foreign ministers from member nations on Thursday.