On Monday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj briefed both Houses of Parliament about her recent visit to Pakistan and the new ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ process between the the two countries.
Last week Sushma Swaraj was in Islamabad to attend the Heart of Asia Summit, and there she met Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz for bilateral talks, on the sidelines of the summit.
The Minister began her statement by saying that the continued estrangement of India-Pakistan was a hurdle to the realisation of peace and prosperity in the region. She also said that since the government accords “highest priority to country’s security” and the building a peaceful environment with neighbours including Pakistan, it was decided that India and Pakistan will engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue on all issues including peace, security and Jammu & Kashmir.
“This decision of the Government follows the recent developments and engagements between the two countries, especially the constructive discussions between their National Security Advisors in Bangkok on December 6, 2015….The meeting of the NSAs resulted from discussion between our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Paris on November 30,” Swaraj said in the Upper House of the Parliament when the Opposition members’ uproar drowned her voice.
“Two sides condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate this menace…There we dwelt on the need for Pakistan to expedite the Mumbai terrorist attacks trial. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite its early conclusion,” Swaraj said in her statement.
In the Lok Sabha, Swaraj spoke about the need to bridge the gulf in relations with Pakistan. She also hoped that the dialogue will not be interrupted.
“The way forward is only dialogue…hope that ‘saboteurs’ will not provoke and affect the dialogue process,” said the External Affairs Minister in the Lower House.
Swaraj also gave details about the meeting between the NSAs in Bangkok. The two NSAs focussed on “peace and security, terrorism, tranquility along the Line of Control and Jammu & Kashmir – the state which has been most directly impacted by terrorism and violation of LoC,” she said while explaining how her visit to Islamabad came on the back of the “constructive talks” between the NSAs.
“The new Dialogue, we sincerely hope, marks a new beginning also for peace and development in the whole region,” Swaraj said while reading the statement in Parliament.
(With inputs from PTI)