Swaraj in Islamabad; to meet Nawaz Sharif, Sartaj Aziz

08 December 2015

External affairs minister Sushma SwarajExternal affairs minister Sushma Swaraj reached Islamabad today to take part in the two-day 'Heart of Asia' conference, an annual gathering of Asian and other countries, with focus on Afghanistan, which began on Tuesday.

Swaraj will represent India at the ministerial-level meeting on Wednesday. She will also hold talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and her counterpart Sartaj Aziz, in what would be the first top level official meeting since the visit of then external affairs minister SM Krishna in 2012.

The meeting also follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with his Pakistan counterpart on the sidelines of the UN climate conference in Paris.

''I will meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and my counterpart Sartaj Aziz. We will talk about improving and taking forward the relations between the two countries,'' Swaraj said in Islamabad.

On Wednesday, Swaraj will attend the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process conference, which aims at shoring up support for war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Swaraj is expected to meet Nawaz Sharif and his adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, on the sidelines of the multilateral conference on Wednesday.

Swaraj's visit comes following a meeting between the national security advisers of India and Pakistan in Thai capital Bangkok on Sunday. The foreign secretaries of both the countries were also present during the meeting.

A joint statement issued by the two sides in Bangkok said: ''Discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues, including tranquility along the LoC (Line of Control that divides the two counties).''

Earlier, on 30 November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had an impromptu meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 climate summit in Paris.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday chaired a high-level meeting of top security and civil officials ahead of holding talks with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of a regional conference.

The meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, national security adviser Lt Gen (Rtd) Nasir Janjua, finance minister Ishaq Dar, interior minister Nisar Ali Khan, adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz and other officials, according to an official statement.

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