17/12/2015 9:37 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

India, Pakistan Make New Beginning, Says Sushma Swaraj

Indian Border Security Force soldiers and Pakistan Rangers soldiers, in black uniform, march during 'Beating the Retreat' or a flag lowering ceremony at the joint border check post of Wagah, India, Wednesday, July 11, 2007. (AP Photo/Aman Sharma)

NEW DELHI -- A new beginning has been made by India and Pakistan as the two countries have agreed on a new bilateral comprehensive dialogue to address all outstanding issues through peaceful means, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday.

To a question in Rajya Sabha on whether India has raised the issue of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in international fora, Ms. Swaraj replied in affirmative and said government’s principled and consistent position on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir has been that the entire state is an integral part of India.

“A new beginning has been made in the form of the agreement of the two countries on a new bilateral comprehensive dialogue to address all outstanding issues between them through peaceful means,” she said.

During her visit to Islamabad earlier this month to attend a multilateral meet on Afghanistan, both India and Pakistan announced that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue.

Replying to a query, she said the Permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN has recently written three letters to the President of the UN Security Council which referred to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and asked the top decision making body to take note of situation along the Line of Control.

To a separate question, Ms. Swaraj said it was aware of an Amnesty International report which said that 279 Indian migrant workers died in Qatar in 2014.

“The report also states that these figures are of migrant workers deaths from all causes, including fatalities, not directly related to labour conditions,” she said.

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