ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision to attend the inaugural ceremony of his Indian counterpart was appreciated by the participants of a roundtable here on Thursday.

The roundtable, “Looking forward: the Indian election and its implications for Pakistan”, was organised by Jinnah Institute. Prominent analysts, civil servants, former diplomats and senior journalists spoke on the occasion.

They reviewed the statements by India and Pakistan on the recent visit and highlighted the importance of raising Pakistan’s concerns in future bilateral discussions.

They also noted that Pakistan’s foreign policy outreach would continue to be influenced by the developments in the country’s internal security environment, prospects for economic recovery and improved governance.

It was agreed that the progress on all challenges facing the country would be essential drivers for our future engagement in the region.

The participants also noted that the progress on the improvement of trade relations between the two countries was one area where forward movement could be expected.

However, the participants were of the opinion that a timely resumption of an uninterruptible and uninterrupted composite dialogue was necessary for the constructive normalisation of the Indo-Pakistan relations.

The speakers agreed that Pakistan needed to closely watch developments within India with a new government in New Delhi.

The roundtable was chaired by Jinnah Institute President and former ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman and attended by former foreign secretaries Salman Bashir and Riaz Khokhar, ambassadors Aziz Ahmad Khan, Khalid Khattak, Humayun Khan, Shafqat Kakakhel, Arif Kamal, Sarwar Naqvi,

Fauzia Nasreen, Ayaz Wazir, Shahzad Chaudhry, Talat Masood and senior journalists Mariana Baabar, Zahid Hussain and Farrukh Pitafi.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2014

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