New Delhi, Dec 31: Bilateral ties between neighbours Pakistan and India swung wildly in 2015 — from a breakdown in talks to resuming the interrupted dialogue at the highest level of government.
The year began on a chilly note when Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, said to be mastermind of Mumbai terror attack, maged to secure bail after six years of incarceration. Since then, bilateral relations have been through ups and downs — more downs than ups. But as the year drew to a close, there was a dramatic thaw in the frosty relations, with Indian Prime Minister rendra Modi stopping over at Lahore, on his way home from Afghanistan, to meet Pakistan Prime Minister waz Sharif on the latter’s birthday. Earlier, the two south Asian leaders had had an impromptu meeting in Paris on November 30, on the sidelines of the Climate Summit. The Paris meet was followed by the tiol Security Advisers of the two countries — Ajit Doval of India and seer Khan Janjua of Pakistan — holding talks in Bangkok on December 6.
Two days later, India’s Exterl Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj participated in the Heart of Asia conference in Islamabad where she also met the Pakistani prime minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz. The conference turned out to be a game-changer for the two South Asian nuclear neighbours. India and Pakistan agreed to a comprehensive bilateral dialogue, which had earlier got stalled.
The ties between the two countries hit turbulence this year when the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi invited Hurriyat leaders for a reception on August 23 and Sartaj Aziz planned to separately meet Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, before his scheduled talks with Indian counterpart Ajit Doval. But New Delhi rejected the move and, after a series of flip-flops, the curtains came down on proposed talks, a day before the then tiol Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz was due to land in New Delhi — with bitter accusations and acrimony marking the exchanges. India said Pakistan was using firing at the Line of Control (LoC) and terror attacks to “run away from the talks” after Pakistan it of “concocting terror incidents and keeping the LoC hot”. Sharif used the UN General Assembly platform to propose a four-step peace plan in October.
The Indian Exterl Affairs Ministry, however, did not respond to Sharif’s proposal that was peppered with swipes at India for alleged rights violations, for firing at the LoC, and for rejecting the composite dialogue process agreed to in 1997. (IANS)