New dates for NSA-level talks likely

NEW DELHI (TIP): India and Pakistan may announce new dates for the talks between their Prime Ministers’ National Security Advisors, if External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj travels to Islamabad to attend a conclave on Afghanistan next week and has a
“brief and informal courtesy” meeting with her counterpart, Sartaj Aziz, on the sideline.

The proposal of Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad to attend the “Heart of Asia” conclave on Afghanistan and a bilateral meeting with Aziz are among the elements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest offer to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to end the impasse in diplomatic engagement between the two neighbours, officials told Deccan Herald on Thursday.

Modi put forward his offer to Sharif when they had a brief chat on the sideline of the COP 21 climate change summit hosted by United Nations in Paris last Monday.

Sharif, according to the sources, did not immediately respond to the proposal, but told Modi that he would get back after holding “internal consultations”. New Delhi is likely to take a final call on the external affairs minister’s visit to Pakistan only after factoring in the response from Islamabad.

Modi and Sharif had met at Ufa in Russia on July 10 last and agreed on a roadmap of engagements, commencing with a meeting between the NSAs of the two prime ministers.Aziz, who was also Sharif ’s NSA then, was expected to meet his counterpart and Modi’s NSA Ajit Doval in New Delhi on August 24.

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