India, Pakistan Foreign Secretaries hold talks

New Delhi, Apr 26 : Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan today held bilateral talks focusing on a range of sticky issues including Pathankot terror attack probe, the first such formal meeting between the two top diplomats after talks were deferred in January following the strike by Pakistani terrorists.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry are also believed to have deliberated on ways to take forward the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) which has been stagnant.

India has been pressing for action against terrorists responsible for the audacious attack on the premier IAF base, to move ahead in the talks.

“Another important bilateral for Foreign Secretary as he meets with his Pakistan counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry,” tweeted External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

The Pakistan Foreign Secretary is here on a day-long visit to attend the ‘Senior Officials Meeting of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process’.

Jaishankar is understood to have raised the issue of investigation into the Pathankot terror strike.

This is also the first formal meeting between Jaishankar and Chaudhry after the announcement of CBD by the Foreign Ministers in Islamabad last December. The two secretaries had a informal brief interaction during a SAARC meeting in Nepal in March this year.

The efforts to resume CBD at the Foreign Secretary-level hit a deadlock after the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase in January that India said was carried out by militants from Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group.

Jaishankar was scheduled to travel to Islamabad to hold talks with Chaudhary on January 15 but both the countries had announced deferment of the talks with “mutual consent” in the wake of the Pathankot attack.

Todays’s meeting comes in the backdrop of Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s recent comments that the bilateral peace process was suspended, evoking a sharp reaction by Indian side.

India has been maintaining that communication channels were on at various levels but also made it clear it wants to see action on terror and Pathankot first before the dialogue could be resumed.

Earlier, Jaishankar met Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai and discussed issues of mutual interests. (PTI)