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Saarc summit: Swaraj, Aziz to hold bilateral talks; Pathankot attack on agenda

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PTI | Updated on: 17 Mar 2016, 11:00:21 AM

Pokhara (Nepal):

Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz today said he is willing to discuss all issues, including the Pathankot terror attack, with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj here in Nepal. Aziz also expressed hope that the Pakistani Special Investigation Team will be able to visit India soon to carry forward the probe into the attack at the Air Force base in Pathankot in January.

“Don’t worry. The main purpose of the meeting, of course, is to handover the invitation for the SAARC Summit. And then anything she wants to discuss, we will discuss,” he told reporters here in the Nepali resort town as he arrived for the 37th SAARC Council of Ministers Meeting.

Asked if he was positive of an outcome of his meeting with Sushma Swaraj today, Aziz said, “We will tell you after the meeting. We are always open for positive outcome”. He said Pakistan has been “responding” to the Pathankot issue.

“We are responding on that and you know it. We are talking on all subjects,” he said, replying to sustained questions on whether Pathankot attack will be discussed.

Asked when can one expect Pakistani SIT in India, he replied, “very soon InshAllah”.

Sushma and Aziz are scheduled to meet today on the sidelines of the SAARC meeting during which the External Affairs Minister is expected to nudge Pakistan to take action in the aftermath of the air base attack, which came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore on December 25 last year.

Incidentally, though Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry did not have any structured meeting till now, they met casually at least thrice.

They first casually met at a dinner hosted for SAARC Foreign Secretaries last night and later even walked together for a few minutes. They met today at breakfast and exchanged a few words before meeting again during the SAARC meet today.

This is the first time Jaishankar and Chaudhry came face to face since planned talks between the foreign secretaries were put off after the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase.

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First Published : 17 Mar 2016, 07:41:00 AM