Islamabad: A two-day civil society-led Track-II dialogue was held between India and Pakistan in Islamabad for the first time since the Pulwama terror attack. The dialogue, titled ‘Beyond Politics and Polemics New Beginning on a Difficult Trail’, was convened by the Islamabad-based Regional Peace Institute (RPI). This initiative seeks to improve cross-border connectivity and trade through people-to-people exchanges and educational collaboration.

According to media reports, six Indian delegates took part in the dialogue. A source stated, “There is no official-level representation from India. It is a purely a civil society-led initiative.”

Raoof Hasan, founder of the Regional Peace Institute told IANS, “Track-II diplomacy is the first step to improve relations between the governments of both the countries,” and added that the main objective of the talks was to bring the youth of the two countries towards peace.

Hasan also tweeted: “Here we are finally trying to untangle the tricky knot! It is always the scent of possibilities that sustains my hope for the future. Let’s do a toast to a tomorrow of peace and reconciliation.”

Addressing the talk on Saturday, Pakistan’s Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbas stressed on greater people to people contacts between the two neighbours to normalise the bilateral relationship.

The theme of the first session was ‘With young leading the charge — discovering new paths for reconciliation & progress’, while the second session was on ‘Moving to overcome challenges — formulating a vision of the future’. Another session was themed ‘Commonality of stakes — Connectivity as the gateway to development.’

The dialogue comes ahead of a meeting scheduled for Sunday between the officials of both sides at Wagah on the issue of Kartarpur corridor. Notably, the second round of the dialogue will be held in New Delhi in the month of September.