India, Pakistan Foreign Secretaries Raise Kashmir Issue And Discuss Pathankot Attack Probe

26/04/2016 12:21 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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NEW DELHI -- Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan today held bilateral talks focusing on a range of sticky issues including Pathankot terror attack probe, Jammu and Kashmir dispute and 26/11 terror probe--the first such formal meeting between the two top diplomats after talks were deferred in January following the strike by Pakistani terrorists.

“All outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute were discussed. The Foreign Secretary emphasised that Kashmir remains the core issue that requires a just solution, in accordance with UNSC resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people,” a Pakistani diplomatic source told The Hindu.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry are also believed to have deliberated on ways to take forward the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) which has been stagnant.

India has been pressing for action against terrorists responsible for the audacious attack on the premier IAF base, to move ahead in the talks.

"Another important bilateral for Foreign Secretary as he meets with his Pakistan counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry," tweeted External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

The two Foreign Secretaries exchanged ideas on taking the relationship forward and agreed to remain in touch.

"We pressed for immediate consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Naval officer abducted and taken to Pakistan. The discussions also covered humanitarian issues including those pertaining to fishermen and prisoners, and people to people contacts including religious tourism," the Foreign Secretary said.

The Pakistan Foreign Secretary is here on a day-long visit to attend the 'Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process'.

Jaishankar is understood to have raised the issue of investigation into the Pathankot terror strike.

This is also the first formal meeting between Jaishankar and Chaudhry after the announcement of CBD by the Foreign Ministers in Islamabad last December. The two secretaries had a informal brief interaction during a SAARC meeting in Nepal in March this year.

The efforts to resume CBD at the Foreign Secretary-level hit a deadlock after the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase in January that India said was carried out by militants from Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group.

Jaishankar was scheduled to travel to Islamabad to hold talks with Chaudhary on 15 January but both the countries had announced deferment of the talks with "mutual consent" in the wake of the Pathankot attack.

Todays's meeting comes in the backdrop of Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit's recent comments that the bilateral peace process was suspended, evoking a sharp reaction by Indian side.

India has been maintaining that communication channels were on at various levels but also made it clear it wants to see action on terror and Pathankot first before the dialogue could be resumed.

Earlier, Jaishankar met Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai and discussed issues of mutual interests.

(With inputs from PTI)

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