India-Pakistan flags (File Photo)
Civil society activists from India and Pakistan have participated in a two-day Track-II dialogue in Islamabad to resolve the differences, the first such interaction after the Pulwama terror attack that strained the ties between the two neighbours.
The dialogue titled 'Beyond Politics and Polemics New Beginning on a Difficult Trail' was organised by the Islamabad-based think tank Regional Peace Institute (RPI). It came ahead of a meeting on Sunday between the officials of both countries at the Attari-Wagah border on the Kartarpur corridor.
Though there was no formal communique issued, RPI chief executive Raoof Hassan said in a tweet that the two sides were trying for peace. "Here we are finally trying to untangle the tricky knot! It is always the scent of possibilities that sustains my hope for the future. Let's do a toast to a tomorrow of peace and reconciliation," he said.
The organisers said six delegates from India participated in the interaction on Friday and Saturday and discussed issues like security, trade and people-to-people contacts. The theme of the first session was 'With young leading the charge - discovering new paths for reconciliation and progress'.
The topic for the second session was on 'Moving to overcome challenges, formulating a vision of the future'. Another session was titled 'Commonality of stakes, Connectivity as the gateway to development'. It was the first such interaction after the Pulwama attack which brought the two counties to the brink of war.
The second round of Track-II dialogue will take place in New Delhi in September this year. Forty CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on February 14 in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) rammed a vehicle carrying a huge quantity of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.
India launched a major diplomatic offensive against Islamabad after the attack and highlighted Pakistan's role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy. New Delhi also announced the withdrawal of the Most Favoured Nation status for Pakistan and hiked the customs duty by 200 per cent on goods originating from Pakistan.
The international community led by the US pressed Pakistan to deny safe haven to terror groups operating form its soil and bring the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack to justice. India has asked Pakistan to take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control.