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‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ to mark beginning of peace with Pak: MEA

New Delhi, Dec.14 : External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said re-engaging with Pakistan under a ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ will mark beginning of peace and development as continued estrangement was a hurdle to peace and prosperity in the region.

Making a suo motu statement in Rajya Sabha on her last week’s visit to Islamabad amidst Opposition protests, Swaraj said: “We raised the issue of Mumbai 26/11 attacks probe and asked Pakistan to expedite the trial process. India and Pakistan condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate this menace. New Delhi also dwelt on the need for Islamabad to expedite the Mumbai terrorist attacks trail. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite its early conclusion.”

“There was also a ‘sharp awareness’ that principal obstacles to the growth of ties, especially terrorism, would have to be clearly and directly addressed,” Swaraj added.

In her statement, Swaraj also detailed the circumstances under which her visit was organised and what took place in Islamabad with the Pakistani leadership. She said that it has always been the Indian Government’s endeavour to maintain relations with neighbouring countries, including Pakistan.

Swaraj said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the environment conference in Paris “again re-engaging with each other. She further said that she hoped that the decision to have a bilateral composite dialogue with Pakistan would yield the results expected by the leaderships and people of both countries.

“Initiatives on trade and connectivity, people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian issues would contribute to welfare of the entire region and promote better understanding and mutual trust,” she said.

She said, government accords highest priority to country’s security and building an environment of peaceful, cooperative relations with neighbours including Pakistan.

The External Affairs Minister said the Foreign Secretaries of both the countries have been tasked to work out modalities and schedule of the meetings under the new dialogue.

Swaraj visited Islamabad recently for two-day to attend the fifth Ministerial Conference on Heart of Asia on Afghanistan, where she met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz among many other dignitaries.(ANI)