India responds to Pakistan's letter, foreign ministers to meet soon
After newly-elected Pakistan PM Imran Khan wrote to PM Narendra Modi requesting that bilateral talks between India and Pakistan be resumed, New Delhi has responded. India has confirmed that foreign minister Sushma Swaraj will meet her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in New York later this month, on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting. Here's what we know about it.
Details about Swaraj and Qureshi's meeting in New York
Swaraj is slated to leave for New York on September 24 as part of India's delegation to the UN General Assembly meeting scheduled in the city. Meanwhile, Qureshi will also be in New York, heading the Pakistan delegation. The duo are also set to attend the SAARC foreign ministers lunch and get-together on September 27. Bilateral discussions are expected to be held in between.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirms the upcoming meeting
"I can confirm that on the request of the Pakistani side, a meeting between External Affairs Minister & Pakistani foreign minister will take place on the sidelines of UNGA at a mutually convenient date and time," said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
Imran Khan had urged resumption of a comprehensive dialogue process
Pakistan PM Imran Khan, in his letter to PM Narendra Modi, had suggested a meeting between the two foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UNGA meet. He had also called for the resumption of a comprehensive dialogue process between the two countries. Earlier, on August 18, PM Modi had written to Khan confirming India's commitment to "constructive" and "meaningful" engagement with Pakistan.
India wants to see Pakistan's commitment to addressing terrorism concerns
However, it's understood that India first wants to test the waters before going for a full-blown bilateral talk. New Delhi has said that it would like to see progress by Pakistan in addressing concerns raised by India pertaining to terrorism. Sources said that any move demonstrating commitment, such as bringing those responsible for the 26/11 terror attacks to justice, would be welcomed by India.
India-Pakistan ties have been very strained of late
Yet, the New York meeting would mark the first bilateral engagement between the countries in a while. Following terror attacks by Pakistan-based terror outfits, and India's retaliatory surgical strikes in 2016, relations had been particularly strained. The relatively recent death sentence awarded to alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav further worsened the relationship. Bilateral talks have not been held since.