New Delhi, Aug 22: India and Pakistan are looking into the possibility of a meeting between their foreign ministers Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York next month, according to a Times of India report. Both the leader will be present at the 73rd session of the UNGA which will begin on September 18.
The report further cited sources saying that while there was no official proposal yet for a meeting, both the countries feel they should make use of the opportunity after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a letter to his newly elected Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, conveying that India was looking for constructive and meaningful engagement with his country.
Imran Khan also expressed his willingness on Tuesday to re-start the stalled Indo-Pak peace process and said the two countries must engage in dialogue to resolve their differences, including on the Kashmir issue, and start trading.
A row started after reports claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to Pakistan’s newly appointed PM Imran Khan indicating the beginning of talks between the two countries. Pakistan Foreign Minister SM Qureshi had asserted that both the countries need to engage and said India and Pakistan have to move forward keeping realities before them. However, India had denied Pakistan Foreign Minister SM Qureshi’s claims.
Later, Pakistan also issued a clarification saying that his minister never said Indian PM offered a dialogue. “Foreign Minister hadn’t stated Indian PM had made an offer of dialogue but had said that Indian PM in his letter to PM Imran Khan, had also mentioned something similar to what Foreign Minister elucidated earlier i.e. the way forward was only through constructive engagement,” read Pakistan statement.
While the Indian government has nor precluded any interaction with Pakistan leaders at multilateral events, it has made its stand clear that terror and talks cannot go hands in hand.
This means that a bilateral engagement between the two countries through their foreign ministers may have to wait until the Imran Khan government shows some inclination on the main concern of bringing the perpetrators of Pathankot and Mumbai attacks to justice.