Swaraj, Aziz may meet in Pokhara during SAARC ministerial meet


India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz may meet in Pokhara on the sidelines of SAARC Ministerial meet. The SAARC meet is scheduled to take place from March 14-17. The much awaited meeting between foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan could also take place in Pokhara.

Seeking to give a start to the comprehensive bilateral dialogue, which has been stalled due to the Pathankot terror attack on January 2, Pakistan is expecting India’s Foreign Secretary Mr Jaishankar to visit Islamabad. The meeting between the foreign ministers and secretaries could also lay the ground for a potential meeting between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart  Nawaz Sharif in the US, the two leaders will be in Washington to attend the Nuclear Security Summit on March 31.

While both India and Pakistan have denied that any official meeting has been planned in Nepal, unnamed officials said that a head-to-head between the foreign ministers could not be ruled out as both ministers would be present together on March 16-17 at the 37th session of the SAARC Council of Ministers’ meeting.

Terror- The key focus

Though Pakistan wants only the National Security Advisors (NSA) to discuss terrorism in depth, Mrs Swaraj and Mr Jaishankar are likely to raise the Mumbai terror attack trial and Pathankot attack with their Pakistani counterparts. India has provided “actionable evidence” to Pakistan in the Pathankot terror attacks. Pakistan claims that the terror attack is being investigated by them.

The comprehensive bilateral dialogue seeks to discuss all the major issues concerning the two countries. However, the growing terror attacks against India by Pakistan based terror groups forced India to focus on terror as the major issue between the two countries.