‘Delhi meetup surpassed expectations’

ISLAMABAD: A day after India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, Islamabad on Wednesday said both the PMs recognized the need to turn a new leaf in the relations between the two South Asian neighbours. 

Addressing a news conference, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz however insisted that the Kashmir issue had not been sidelined despite the PM snubbing representatives of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference during his first visit to Inda. 

Aziz said the meeting between the two premiers was ceremonious and Kashmir and other key issues were not on the agenda.

He emphasized that there was a clear recognition of each other’s concerns and that outcome of the meeting was much better than what the Pakistani delegation had expected.

Prime Minister Nawaz – along with his advisers – visited India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Modi. The two leaders had a 50-minute long meeting the next day when they discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.

Giving an insight into the meeting held between Modi and Sharif, Aziz said the Pakistani PM conveyed it to his Indian counterpart that the people and the government of Pakistan were committed to fighting terrorism.

Aziz said Prime Minister Nawaz had recalled the Lahore declaration during his meeting with Modi which calls on both the countries to intensify efforts for solving the Kashmir issue.

He said Nawaz and Modi agreed that all the matters should be addressed through dialogue.

Commenting on the probe into the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Aziz said the Pakistani delegation advised PM Modi to let the law take its course.

“No assurances were asked for in this regard and none were given,” he asserted.

Modi had told Sharif that the investigation into the attacks was slow and that the pace of the probe needed to be expedited.

Aziz said both the leaders agreed dialogue was the right way to move forward and that the head of states and foreign secretaries should meet each other soon on mutually convenient dates.

“The composite dialogue started in 1998 and covers eight main issues facing Pakistan and India. But so much time has passed and many incidents have occurred; it is the job of the foreign secretaries to decide on how to move forward,” the adviser explained.

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