Sushma, Aziz to hold first bilateral talks on Thursday

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz will hold bilateral talks on Thursday on the sidelines of 37th SAARC summit in Pokhara, Nepal.

It’s the first official engagement between India and Pakistan after Pathankot terror attack.
Sartaj Aziz is expected to extend invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the SAARC summit to be held in Islamabad in late 2016.

The two leaders arrived in Pokhara on Wednesday to attend the 37th meeting of the Saarc Council of Ministers.

The positive tone for the meeting was set on Tuesday during the dinner hosted by Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi where the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries rubbed shoulders and held informal talks, said officials privy to the dinner.

The prospect of the meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Aziz grew further after they met during a reception hosted by Nepal’s Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa on Wednesday evening.

“What I can confirm is that the meeting between Sushma and Aziz has been fixed in Hotel Grand on Thursday evening,” said one Indian diplomat.That meeting would take place once the ministerial meeting is over, he added.

After the ministerial meeting, the visiting foreign ministers and senior officials will leave for sightseeing. They will then return to the hotel and sit for talks.

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