WEB DESK : Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz will be travelling to India to attend Heart of Asia conference on December 4 (Sunday) with no bilateral meeting scheduled so far with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj.
Diplomatic sources, however, did not rule out the possibility of a bilateral meeting between Adviser Aziz and Indian External Affairs Minister Swaraj amid escalation of tension, saying “leaders often meet on such important regional events”.
Adviser Aziz announced that he would participate in the conference as Pakistan supports any initiative aimed at bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan and that it would be a “good opportunity” to “defuse the tension” between the two neighbours.
Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told media in New Delhi last Tuesday that the government of India has received an official confirmation from government of Pakistan that Adviser Aziz will attend the conference, scheduled for December 03 and 04 in Amritsar.
The sources said that the Adviser will attend the concluding session of the conference on December 04 and return the same day. The visit would be the latest gesture to defuse tensions between the two countries, as indicated by Sartaj Aziz.
“This is a good opportunity for defusing tensions, as the fundamental fact is that India has sabotaged the multilateral process, the SAARC Summit, for the sake of bilateral relations [with Pakistan]. We want to prove that the multilateral process of Heart of Asia is basically for Afghanistan, which is our priority,” the Adviser said in response to a question by Business Recorder on November 15.
The Foreign Office spokesperson, Nafees Zakaria, however, could not be reached for his comments. “Up till now, no bilateral meeting between Sartaj Aziz and Sushma Swaraj is scheduled, but the meeting between the two cannot be ruled out, as leaders often avail such opportunities on such significant occasions to discuss important issues”, an official source said on condition of anonymity.
As many as 40 countries would be participating in the conference, besides Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Sources said that Pakistan is primarily attending the conference in the context of Afghanistan to support peace and stability as well as supporting an initiative aimed at economic development of the war-torn country. They pointed out that at the Brussels Conference on October 5, 2016 Sartaj Aziz pledged an additional $500 million for economic development of Afghanistan – money earmarked for construction of roads, infrastructure, education and health.
Source : Business Recorder