Delhi: With continued tension between India and Pakistan, Sartaj Aziz's visit to India for Heart of Asia (HOA) conference next week in Amritsar is likely to be a curtailed one.
The Times of India quoted official sources as saying that, as of now, Pakistan has confirmed that Aziz will arrive in Amritsar only on December 4, unlike delegates from other countries who will land a day earlier, and depart for Pakistan the same evening.
There is no confirmation yet of any substantive bilateral dialogue between the two countries on the sidelines of the conference.
On November 25, Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Foreign Affairs, Aziz had said that Pakistan was ready for a dialogue with India on the condition that Kashmir dispute was part of it.
"We are ready for dialogue with India on the condition that Kashmir dispute is also included in it," he had said, speaking in the National Assembly during a debate on the LoC situation, as per PTI.
On the other hand, on November 24 , India had remained non- committal about holding talks with Aziz during the Conference.
MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had told a weekly media briefing that the programme was in a "fluid state" and he was not in a position to "rule in or rule out anything at this stage. I can only say that as of 24th November nothing has been decided".
When pressed on the subject, he had said, "The programme is still evolving. The associated events connected with the conference are in a process of evolving. At this point, I am not in a position to make any other announcement."
Swarup reiterated India's stated position that though the country is for dialogue "talks and terror cannot go hand- in-hand".
"Our position on it (talks) is very very clear from the beginning. We are for a dialogue with Pakistan. But talks and terror cannot happen together. It is incumbent on Pakistan to create the necessary environment for a conducive bilateral dialogue to happen," he had said and had also referred to Swaraj's address at the UN recently that for talks to take place, Islamabad will have to end terrorism.
Incidentally, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is ill, will not attend the two-day meet on December 3 and 4.
(With Agency inputs)