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ANALYSIS: Pakistan and India on the path of finding peace

A flurry of high level contacts between the two countries shows a new pattern indicating towards new efforts to revive ties between New Delhi and Islamabad which slide from bad to worse in recent years especially after Modi’s BJP’s elevation to power in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a global summit in Paris made a brief interaction, then the national security advisers and foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India held a joint meeting in Bangkok and now Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arriving Islamabad today to attend a regional security moot.

Paris encounter between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference was the prime mover for Bangkok meeting of national security advisers of Pakistan and India on past Sunday that is likely to thaw the frosty relationship between the two neighbours.

The meeting between Nasser Khan Janjua and Ajit Doval lasted over four hours, says a joint statement simultaneously released by Islamabad and New Delhi. The foreign secretaries of the two countries also attended the meeting where peace and security, terrorism and Kashmir dispute were discussed.

Janjua-Doval meeting being termed as a major breakthrough by the political pundits given the ongoing tensions between the two hostile neighbours.

The Paris rendezvous has now turned out to be more than just a ‘courtesy call’ as suggested earlier by the two sides. Sources say it was pre-scheduled but the two sides deliberately portrayed it as a chance interaction in order to avoid any undue expectations from the talks.

Sources say the decision to arrange a meeting between the two national security advisers along with the foreign secretaries was taken during the Paris meeting.

The NSA-level meeting was originally scheduled for August in New Delhi according to an understanding reached during the Nawaz-Modi meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in the Russian resort city of Ufa in July. However, differences on the agenda led to the cancellation of the meeting at the eleventh hour.

But the two countries have now found a way to get the process back on track. A senior Pakistani official reportedly said that the two prime ministers were agreed in Paris not to make announcement of the NSA level talks in an effort to avoid unnecessary media attention.

Bangkok meeting was a ‘win-win’ situation for Pakistan and India. The talks covered issues concerning both sides. The NSA talks paved the way for a visit of India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan.

Swaraj is primarily arriving for a two-day Heart of Asia conference but on the sidelines she will hold talks with Sartaj Aziz, her Pakistani counterpart on bilateral issues.

What seemed impossible just weeks ago, has turned into a remarkable, almost unprecedented round of diplomacy. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi willing to try again for improved bilateral relations.

The talks between the two hostile neighbours to remove obstacles and build confidence, have proved non-starter time and again due to deep mistrust on both sides. A decision to try again and get some positive results will be welcomed by every sane citizen of the two countries.



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