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Bilateral issues on agenda during Jaishankar's SAARC visits: India

Pakistan would be among the countries which Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar would visit as part of his tour of SAARC nations during which he would utilize the opportunity to discuss "bilateral issues", India`s external affairs ministry said Friday.


Bilateral issues on agenda during Jaishankar's SAARC visits: India

New Delhi: Pakistan would be among the countries which Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar would visit as part of his tour of SAARC nations during which he would utilize the opportunity to discuss "bilateral issues", India`s external affairs ministry said Friday.

"Cricket is a metaphor for connectivity in the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries and Prime Minister Narendra Modi practices multi-layered diplomacy," ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told the media here.

"When Indian and Pakistan leaders talk, they will utilize the opportunity to talk about other issues as well. A lot of issues come up but cricket is the main dish," he said.

India had called off foreign secretary-level talks last year in August after Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit decided to meet leaders of the separatist Hurriyat days ahead of the talks.

Modi Friday spoke to his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, along with leaders of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, to convey his best wishes for their teams who are participating in the ICC cricket World Cup 2015.

The prime minister informed Sharif about India`s initiative to send the foreign secretary on a "SAARC yatra" or tour of South Asian countries, including Pakistan.

Akbaruddin said Jaishankar would also utilize the opportunity to talk about bilateral issues.

"We will try and have bilateral agenda with all SAARC countries within the short timea," he said even as he refused to give a time-frame for the visit.

The MEA spokesperson said the visit to Pakistan was not likely to be in the next two weeks.

Modi tweeted Friday that he had spoken to Sharif and the heads of other SAARC countries whose teams are playing in the World Cup to wish them luck.

"Spoke to President @ashrafghani, PM Sheikh Hasina, PM Nawaz Sharif and President Sirisena. Conveyed my best wishes for the Cricket World Cup," he tweeted.

India take on Pakistan in their first World Cup 2015 match in Adelaide Sunday.

 

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