Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The third bilateral meeting between external affairs minister Salman Khurshid and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz since June, when elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif assumed office in Islamabad, ended here inclusively.
Both sides, still struggling to put in place a mechanism to resume a dialogue process, chose to play to the galleries. While India expressed displeasure at Aziz's meeting with Kashmiri separatists, lest it is exploited by the opposition on the eve of elections, Pakistan repudiated the progress made between 2004 and 2006 during president Pervez Musharraf's tenure and returned to parrot implementation of UN resolutions and right to self-determination in Kashmir.
Taking a tough stand and insisting that restoration of peace and tranquility on the Line of Control (LoC) is a precondition to resume the stalled dialogue process, Khurshid, said officials privy to the meeting, conveyed India's displeasure to Aziz for meeting with Kashmiri separatist leaders and stressed the need for respecting Indian "sentiments and sensitivities". Both sides, however, agreed to conduct talks between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMO) of the two armies as soon as possible.
Briefing reporters, official spokersperson Syed Akbaruddin said the timing and modalities of this meeting has been left to the army chiefs to work out whenever they talk. "They need to try and workout what would be the modalities of meeting at an early date," he said.
At the 30-minute interaction, Khurshid also raised the issue of slow pace of the judicial trial against perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. "The external affairs minister did articulate again that as far as we were concerned, all the evidence that was required by the Judicial Commission was provided including transcripts etc., and this was acknowledged by the Pakistani side that they had received everything that they had asked for from us and now they are proceeding with the trial," the spokesman said.
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