Sushma Swaraj’s Pakistan Trip Ups Hopes Of Substantive Talks Resuming

India is looking for a substantive engagement with Pakistan in the days ahead with foreign minister Sushma Swaraj starting her 2-day visit to Islamabad Tuesday, government sources said.

“EAM Sushma Swaraj to lead Indian delegation for Heart of Asia 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on December 9 in Islamabad,” India’s external affairs ministry’s official spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

Earlier in the day, union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: “Tomorrow (Tuesday) Sushma Swaraj is leaving for Islamabad and will give a statement after coming back.”

“The government will brief in detail on talks in both houses (parliament) once Sushma Swaraj returns from Islamabad,” Rudy told the media in Delhi.

In Islamabad, Pakistan prime minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said he was looking forward to meet Sushma Swaraj.

“Talks are the only solution,” the Daily Pakistan quoted Aziz as saying.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Sushma Swaraj will arrive in Islamabad on Wednesday and Tuesday respectively to attend the two-day summit.

Aziz said there have been breakthroughs in dialogue with Afghanistan and India and the Pakistani relationship with two countries will now further be strengthened.

Matters of conflict between Pakistan and India will be discussed in the meeting and a road map will be devised to resume the composite bilateral dialogue during the visit, he said.

Asked whether the proposed Pakistan-India Cricket series was also discussed during the meeting of the national security advisors in Bangkok, Aziz said it remained confined to matters related to national security and mutual ties.

Sushma Swaraj’s visit comes after the NSAs of India and Pakistan met in Bangkok on Sunday and “agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement”.

A joint statement issued after the Bangkok meeting said Ajit Doval of India and Naseer Khan Janjua of Pakistan held discussions “in a candid, cordial and constructive atmosphere”.

Foreign secretaries S. Jaishanker of India and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry of Pakistan also took part in the meeting.

“Discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues including tranquility along the LoC (Line of Control)”, the statement said.