Indo-Pak talks: Modi-Sharif initiative gets a Sushma Swaraj touch

By: | Updated: December 10, 2015 10:08 PM

Indo-Pak relations: The Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue must ensure that Pakistan grants India the MFN status quickly to increase business ties.

indo-pak relations, indo-pak talks, narendra modi nawaz sharif, narendra modi nawaz sharif meeting, Modi-Sharif initiative, indo pak bilateral relations, indo pak bilateral issues, indo pak bilateral talks, Pakistan most favoured nationIndo-Pak relations: While it is crucial to move forward on critical issues like dealing with terrorism in both the countries and Jammu & Kashmir, it is the economic relationship — and this is where PM Modi attending the SAARC summit in Islamabad next year will be important — which will be the bedrock for building a strong relationship going ahead. (Reuters)

indo-pak relations, indo-pak talks, narendra modi nawaz sharif, narendra modi nawaz sharif meeting, Modi-Sharif initiative, indo pak bilateral relations, indo pak bilateral issues, indo pak bilateral talks, Pakistan most favoured nation Prime Minister Narendra Modi may not be succeeding in breaking the deadlock in Parliament to pass reform Bills, but by bringing the India-Pakistan talks back on track after three years, he has certainly added another feather to his cap as far as his successes on the external affairs front is concerned.

To his advantage here, while National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval is guiding the ground work deftly, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj is just the right person to provide the warmth that any success on the India-Pak dialogue front requires.

The joint statement issued by the two sides on Wednesday clearly shows an eagerness to resolve contentious issues through constant deliberations.

The statement was issued after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul in Islamabad, met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and held discussions with his Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz.

Given that both the countries have agreed to create a strong framework for resolving long-pending issues, especially in tackling terrorism, it is expected that the tension would ease to a certain extent on the borders.

The tone of the joint-statement supports this optimism as it pointed out: “The EAM and the Adviser condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate it. They noted the successful talks on terrorism and security related issues in Bangkok by the two NSAs and decided that the NSAs will continue to address all issues connected to terrorism. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial” .

Under the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue umbrella now, the Foreign Secretaries will work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings to discuss ‘Peace and Security, CBMs, Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, Economic and Commercial Cooperation, Counter-Terrorism, Narcotics Control, Humanitarian Issues, People to People exchanges and religious tourism’.

While it is crucial to move forward on critical issues like dealing with terrorism in both the countries and Jammu & Kashmir, it is the economic relationship — and this is where PM Modi attending the SAARC summit in Islamabad next year will be important — which will be the bedrock for building a strong relationship going ahead.

Pakistan is yet to grant the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India, that had to be accorded by December 2012, despite the fact that India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996.

As the MFN status to India will boost trade ties between the two countries in a big way, Pakistan must find a way out for this now if there is a problem with the terminology.

The newfound urgency to boost ties is no doubt a good sign for getting this done.

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