Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held a meeting with Sartaj Aziz, the Foreign Affairs Advisor to Pakistan PM on the sidelines of the 37th SAARC summit in Pokhara in Nepal Thursday. The issue of terror attack on Pathankot air base early this year figured prominently in the talks between the two leaders.
“We discussed issues pertaining to Pathankot terror strike,” Ms Swaraj told the press after her talks with Sartaj Aziz.
There are reports that the Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team probing the Pathankot terror attack will arrive in New Delhi on March 27. The team was formed by the Pakistan establishment after India sought prompt action by Pakistan even as the operations at Pathankot was on.
Six terrorists belonging to the dreaded Jaish-e-Mohammad, headed by Maulana Masood Azhar of Kandahar hijack episode, is believed by India to be behind dastardly Pathankot attack. Seven security personnel, including a Lt Col. rank NSG officer, were killed in a January 2 attack.
On the other hand, Sartaj Aziz extended invitation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend SAARC Summit that will be hosted by Pakistan later this year.
Stressing that various issues were discussed where the two nations had “differences”, the Foreign Affairs Advisor to Pak PM said, “We are hoping that there will be a meeting between PM Modi and Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif in the US on the sidelines of the nuclear summit”.
Earlier, both the leaders had met for a brief conversation on Wednesday evening during dinner reception hosted by SAARC Secretary General Ajay Bahadur Thapa.
Swaraj arrived in Pokhara on Wednesday for a three-day visit to attend the SAARC Ministerial meeting during which she will push ahead India’s “neighbourhood first” policy and review the progress of decisions taken by the grouping last year.
In a related development, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry held a face to face meeting for the first time since planned talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries were put off after the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase.
(With inputs from the Agencies)