Indian FM Sushma Swaraj to visit Pakistan tomorrow

Source:  The News Published in Foreign Affairs on Monday, December 7, 2015

ISLAMABAD: India Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj will arrive in Islamabad tomorrow (Tuesday) to attend the 'Heart of Asia' regional security conference on Afghanistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Monday.

"At Pakistan's invitation, the Indian foreign minister will arrive in Islamabad tomorrow to attend the Heart of Asia conference,” Sartaj told reporters at a press conference here today.

According to Indian media, Swaraj will be accompanied by Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar during her visit, which will be the first significant engagement between India and Pakistan since the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PM Narendra Modi in July at Ufa earlier this year.

The prime ministers of the two neighbouring countries also met in a brief encounter last week during the UN Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 climate summit in Paris.

Swaraj is expected will call on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and hold talks with her counterpart Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines of the multilateral conference.

Spokesman for the Indian External Affairs Ministry, Vikas Swarup, also confirmed Swaraj's in a tweet from his official account.

Afghan president to arrive on Wednesday

The following day, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will arrive in the capital to attend the regional security conference, Sartaj said.

Sartaj said that top-level meetings will also be held in Islamabad on the sidelines of the 'Heart of Asia' conference.

In an important breakthrough on Sunday, the National Security Advisers (NSA) of the Pakistan and India met for a lengthy meeting in Bangkok.

The meeting in a third country, which was kept secret, resulted in a much-needed agreement where both countries agreed to "carry forward the constructive engagement".

"(The NSAs) were guided by the vision of the two leaders for a peaceful, stable and prosperous South Asia.Discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues, including tranquility along the LoC.It was agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement," read a joint statement released by the pakistani Foreign Office after the meeting.

The Heart of Asia meeting is being in Islamabad on December 9 (Wednesday).

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