ISLAMABAD: Ahead of Indian foreign secretary’s visit to Pakistan, the Foreign Office said on Thursday there is no specific agenda for the visit but various issues, including Kashmir, will be discussed.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said, “All issues including Jammu and Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachen will be discussed during the foreign secretary level talks.”
The spokesperson said the visit is taking place in pursuant to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s telephonic call to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in which he expressed his intention to send the foreign secretary to Pakistan.
“We had welcomed this initiative of the Indian prime minister,” she added.
The Indian foreign secretary is due to arrive in Islamabad on March 3 as part of his visit to SAARC countries.
The Indian External Affairs Ministry also indicated that New Delhi is ready to discuss all issues, including the longstanding Kashmir dispute.
Responding to a question, the foreign office spokesperson stressed that Pakistan’s foreign policy is based on having peaceful relations with all its neighbours, including India.
Relations between Pakistan and India have been tense over the past few months due to sporadic incidents of clashes along the Line of Control and working boundary.
However, the upcoming visit of Indian foreign secretary is likely to revive the stalled peace process.
The United States is believed to have played a crucial role in persuading the Modi government to re-engage with Pakistan.
Earlier, India had single-handedly called off secretary-level talks with Pakistan following a meeting between Pakistani High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and Hurriyat leaders from Kashmir.
Presence of IS
Regarding recent reports of the presence of the Islamic State in Pakistan, the spokesperson said Pakistan will not allow the outfit to establish footholds in the country.
“In this regard, we will and are taking appropriate measures,” she said, reiterating Pakistan’s resolve against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Afghan peace talks with Taliban
Commenting on the initial contacts between Afghan Taliban and Afghan government, Aslam said Pakistan welcomes the peace talks.
“Pakistan welcomes the peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and government.”
“Pakistan has and will continue to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process in every possible manner,” she added.
Furthermore, Aslam said Pakistan has been playing a key role in efforts against terrorism.
“We believe that our friends including the United States will provide necessary support to Pakistan to continue the anti-terror effort in an effective manner,” she said.
“Obama administration in its budgetary proposals for next fiscal year has proposed to give 804 million dollars assistance to Pakistan,” Aslam added.