In a first signal to improve ties with India which has hit rocked bottom in recent months, Pakistan has decided to send it foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz, for the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar on December 3-4. This would be the first ministerial-level visit as Aziz is the de facto Foreign Affairs, from the neighbouring country after the Pathankot attack in January discontinued bilateral dialogue process between the two nations. Relations fall sharply after India’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads along the Line of Control following the Uri attack and the daily exchange of fire by troops on either side.
Even while Pakistan had earlier confirmed of it attending Amritsar conference, the decision to send Aziz is considered important, a ‘The Indian Express’ report has said. Pakistan public broadcaster PTV quoted Aziz saying that unlike India, which had sabotaged the SAARC summit in Pakistan by deciding to boycott it, Pakistan will respond by participating in the Heart of Asia being held in India.
Aziz added that he would be participating in the conference and would not follow India’s “blunder” of boycotting the SAARC summit which was to be held in Islamabad this month. While there was no official word from New Delhi on Aziz’s coming to India next month, officials said he was welcome to attend the conference. “It is a multilateral event… and every participant’s presence will be treated as such and no bilateral importance should be attached with it”, the paper quoted them as saying.