It's confirmed! Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz to arrive in India for talks on August 23

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday confirmed that he would travel to India on August 23 for talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

Last Updated: Aug 13, 2015, 15:39 PM IST
It's confirmed! Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz to arrive in India for talks on August 23

New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday confirmed that he would travel to India on August 23 for first-ever NSA-level talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.

“I can confirm I will be going to India on August 23,” the Dawn quoted him as saying at a press conference.

Aziz said the decision was taken after consultations.

Officials said that the decision to attend the meeting was taken after the final nod by PM Sharif who returned last night from his three-day visit to Belarus.

India abruptly suspended high level diplomatic talks with Pakistan in August last year after the Pakistani envoy in New Delhi met Kashmiri separatist leaders.

The talks, known as the "Composite Dialogue", were also stopped by India following the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

"Although the security talks are not the revival of the Composite Dialogue, the meeting would be 'ice-breaking' as we will hold discussions on some important issues," Aziz said.

"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believes that dialogue is the only option to peacefully resolve issues," he added.

India had proposed August 23 and 24 dates for the National Security Advisor (NSA)-level talks between the two countries during the July 10 talks in Ufa, Russia, between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

At that time, both sides had agreed to jointly cooperate to eliminate terrorism and that both their NSAs would meet shortly in Delhi to discuss issues connected to terrorism.

However, continuous ceasefire violations across the border and a terror attack in Punjab last month had put a question mark on the fate of the talks.

The nabbing of a Pakistani terrorist -- the second man after Ajmal Kasab, who was caught alive during the 2008 terror attack on Mumbai – also raised doubts whether Pakistan was serious in taking peace talks forward.

The young terrorist hails from Gujranwala in Pakistan and was linked to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). 

Earlier, the two countries had exchanged a war of words over a "spy" drone which Pakistan alleged was being used by India for aerial photography near the Line of Control, a claim dismissed by New Delhi.

Last week, Aziz had said that Pakistan wants a constructive, sustained, unconditional and result-oriented dialogue with India on all issues of mutual concern including the core issue of Kashmir.

(With Agency inputs)