The Indian government on Thursday confirmed that the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan would meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly which is scheduled to take place later this month in New York. However, India has not committed to any form of a resumption of dialogue.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “I can confirm that on the request of the Pakistani side, a meeting between EAM & Pakistani Foreign Minister will take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly at a mutually convenient date and time.”
The development comes against the backdrop of a letter by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he had proposed a meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi before the informal meeting of the SAARC Foreign Ministers at the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York.
“They can explore the way forward, especially the holding of the SAARC Council of Ministers followed by the SAARC Summit in Islamabad. The summit will offer an opportunity for you to visit Pakistan and for us to re-start the stalled dialogue process,” Imran Khan had said in a letter dated September 14.
While the Indian government has confirmed that both the Foreign Ministers would meet in New York, it has clearly said that it would not be a revival or resumption of dialogue — which Pakistan has repeatedly asked for in the light of strained ties between the two neighbouring countries.
The SAARC Foreign Ministers’ informal meeting has been taking place for last few years on the sidelines of the UNGA. In the last couple of years, the relationship between Delhi and Islamabad nose-dived following a spate of terror attacks in India by Pakistan-based terror groups. Following the attacks, India had cancelled all official talks with Pakistan.