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Indo-Pak talks on fast-track

Indo-Pak talks on fast-track
Highlights

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to Pakistan for a regional security conference on Tuesday and also meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif there.

Sushma for Islamabad today, to meet Sharif

Sushma Swaraj's visit comes after the NSAs of India and Pakistan met in Bangkok on Sunday and

New Delhi/Islamabad: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to Pakistan for a regional security conference on Tuesday and also meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif there.

Swaraj will lead the Indian delegation for Heart of Asia 5th Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan on December 9 in Islamabad, External Affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.

The visit comes after the collapse of talks in August that raised questions about the ability of the nuclear-armed rivals to overcome animosity that has festered since their independence from British rule almost seven decades ago.

In Islamabad, Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said he was looking forward to meeting 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. The Heart of Asia conference engages "Heart of Asia" countries in sincere and result-oriented cooperation for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

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

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

Sunday's meeting in Bangkok followed the impromptu meeting of Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan in Paris on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 climate summit on November 30. Sushma Swaraj's will be the first ministerial-level visit from India to Pakistan since the visit of her predecessor S M Krishna in 2012.

The Congress, referring to the NSAs meet, sought to know what made the government effect a "fundamental departure" from the position conveyed to parliament with regard to engagement with Islamabad and asked it to take Parliament into confidence.

Meanwhile former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah sought to know if India was "made to talk Kashmir" as there was no mention of 'K' word when the two Prime Ministers had met at Ufa.

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