Sushma Swaraj, Sartaj Aziz to hold bilateral today; Pathankot airbase attack likely to be on agenda
Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz are all set to hold a bilateral meeting on Thursday evening.
Pokhara: A day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz were seen engaged in an animated discussion over a dinner here hosted for the ministers of SAARC countries, the duo are all set to hold a bilateral meeting on Thursday evening.
The meeting was sought by Aziz to extend the invitation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the SAARC summit, to be hosted by Pakistan later this year, as per media reports.
During the bilateral, Swaraj is expected to nudge Pakistan to take action against the perpetrators of the Pathankot airbase attack, which came days after PM Modi's surprise visit to Lahore on December 25 last year to attend the 66th birthday of his counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
The two leaders arrived in Pokhara on Wednesday to attend the 37th meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers.
Though details of their discussion on Wednesday during dinner was not known, Indian officials described it as a "social chitchat" between the ministers who were seated alongside.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Choudhry were also seen sitting together at another table during the dinner hosted by SAARC Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa, as per PTI.
The positive tone for the meeting was set on Tuesday during the dinner hosted by Nepal's Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi where the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries rubbed shoulders and held informal talks, said officials privy to the dinner.
The prospect of the meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Aziz grew further after they met during a reception hosted by Nepal's Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa on Wednesday evening.
"What I can confirm is that the meeting between Sushma and Aziz has been fixed in Hotel Grand on Thursday evening," said one Indian diplomat, as per IANS.
That meeting would take place once the ministerial meeting is over, he added.
(With Agency inputs)