Islamabad, Dec 9: India and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed to hold a comprehensive bilateral dialogue on all outstanding issues between the two sides, a breakthrough that followed several high-level contacts after a period of frosty ties.
Exterl affairs minister Sushma Swaraj made the announcement about the resumption of dialogue following a meeting with Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistani Prime Minister's foreign policy adviser, at the Foreign Office in Islamabad.
She said the two foreign secretaries would decide the schedule and modalities of the proposed talks. The comprehensive dialogue would have the same components as the earlier composite dialogue and more components could be added if needed, she said.
In a short joint statement issued after the meeting with Aziz, Sushma Swaraj said that the two countries are on the same page that comprehensive dialogue needs to continue.
For this purpose a 'comprehensive bilateral dialogue' will be initiated which will include all the pillars from the previous 'composite dialogue' and the later 'resumed dialogue' sessions between the countries and may include additiol points as well.
Swaraj further added, that to plan the schedules and the modalities the foreign secretaries of the two countries will have to sit down and decide which issues will be discussed during which meetings and who all attend the dialogue from either side.
A press release about the joint statement seen by Geo News read, that the Indian Exterl Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz both condemned terrorism and resolved to elimite it.
They noted the successful talks on terrorism and security related issues in Bangkok be the tiol Security Advisors (NSA) and decided that the NSA's 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.
Both sides, accordingly, agreed to a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue and the Foreign Secretaries to work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings under the dialogue including peace and security, CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul vigation Projects, Economics and Commercial Cooperation, Counter-terrorism, rcotics Control and Humanitarian issues, People to people exchanges and Religious Tourism.
Her meeting with Aziz followed talks earlier in the day with Pakistan Prime Minister waz Sharif. Swaraj arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday to attend the Heart of Asia conference on security and stability in Afghanistan.
Her visit to Islamabad was confirmed after a brief meeting between Sharif and his Indian counterpart rendra Modi on the margins of the climate change conference in Paris and a meeting between the tiol security advisers of the two sides in Bangkok on Sunday.
Talks between India and Pakistan were spped after the 2008 Mumbai attacks that were carried out by the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba. Attempts to revive parleys did not take off because of differences on key issues such as terrorism and India's insistence on linking talks to the prosecution of those involved in the Mumbai attacks.
Sharif attended Modi's swearing-in last year, raising hopes for better ties but relations ran into rough weather again after New Delhi objected to visiting Pakistani leaders meeting with Kashmiri separatists. Agencies