Indian foreign secretary to visit Pakistan in March

ISLAMABAD: India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar will travel to Pakistan in March, seven months after foreign secretary-level talks were cancelled by India.

“In accordance with the Prime Minister’s directive, will be undertaking a SAARC Yatra to all South Asian countries including Pakistan in March,” spokesperson of the Indian External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin said on Tuesday.

“We stand ready to talk with Pakistan in accordance with the Simla Agreement on all issues including Jammu & Kashmir,” he said.

Akbaruddin, however, did not reveal the exact dates for Jaishankar’s visit.

Relations between the neighbouring countries soured over increased firing along their borders and India called of foreign secretary level talks in August.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over telephone. Sharif said Modi had informed him about the upcoming visit of the Indian foreign secretary adding that Pakistan would welcome the revival of bilateral dialogue.

Later, the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Kashmir will be an integral part of negotiations between Pakistan and India in the upcoming talks.

He said that India had to take first step towards resumption of talks since it was New Delhi that suspended the process.