NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will be meeting her counterpart in Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly in New York. Confirming the development, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "I can confirm that on the request of the Pakistani side, a meeting between EAM and Pakistani foreign minister will take place on the sidelines of the UNGA at a mutually convenient date and time."
"This is just a meeting, not talks or resumption of dialogue," the MEA spokesperson added.
The announcement of a meeting comes hours after a letter by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reported. In the letter, the Pakistani PM had called for a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries to improve ties between the neighbouring countries.
"Building on the mutual desire for peace between our two countries, I wish to propose a meeting between Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Qureshi and the External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj, before the informal meeting of the SAARC Foreign Ministers at the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York. They can explore the way forward, especially the holding of the SAARC Council of ministers followed by the SAARC Summit in Islamabad. The summit will offer an opportunity for you to visit Pakistan and for us to restart the stalled dialogue process," Imran said in his letter.
On whether the issue of opening the Kartarpur corridor will come up for discussion in the talks, Kumar said that the issue will be raised. "Even now after so many years, we don't have any official communication from Pakistani government that they're willing to consider this matter. EAM will therefore raise this issue in her meeting with the Pakistan Foreign Minister," he said.
India has been demanding to open a corridor to Pakistan to allow pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan's Narowal district. Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu had after his recent visit to Pakistan said that Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had told him that they are considering to open Kartarpur corridor on the occasion of 550th birthday anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. However, Pakistan on Wednesday said that no such ‘formal’ proposal is under its consideration.