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WASHINGTON: Pakistan and India have revived back-channel talks following a meeting between their prime ministers in New Delhi last month, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani said on Tuesday.

He said that Pakistan desired an uninterrupted peace process with India that would address the causes of all outstanding disputes and “not just symptoms”.

Addressing a US think-tank in Washington, Mr Jilani said Pakistan also was keen on improving trade and economic relations with its larger neighbour as it believed that this could bring prosperity to the entire region.

The ambassador disclosed that the May 26 meeting between Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi led to the reopening of “back-channel” talks and now foreign secretaries of the two countries would meet shortly to resume the stalled peace process.

Take a look: Pak-India: more of the same?

The back-channel talks, he hoped, would enable the two sides to discuss all issues, including terrorism and Islamabad’s concerns regarding Indian involvement in stoking unrest in Balochistan.

  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif travelled to New Delhi last month to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.—AFP photo
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif travelled to New Delhi last month to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.—AFP photo

“There have been proposals to develop a serious mechanism on terrorism,” he said, while noting that the revival of the peace process would be “a first step towards creating a cooperative and tension-free relationship between the two countries”.

Mr Jilani said he was confident that Prime Minister Sharif’s proposal for establishing a regular mechanism for talks between the Pakistani and Indian national security advisers would be taken up positively.

The proposal for NSA-level talks was proposed first by Mr Sharif when he met the then Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh in New York last September.

Mr Jilani, who was Pakistan’s foreign secretary during that period, said the Pakistani delegation returned from those talks with the impression that “it was taken positively by the Indian side. It remains on the table and when the dialogue process starts, we will revisit the same proposal”.

He noted that trade between the two countries had increased gradually and might touch $ 5 billion mark by 2015.

The ambassador also noted a marked improvement in Pakistan-US relations and said the Pakistani government was also working for improving its relations with both India and Afghanistan as well as with other neighbours.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2014

Comments (26) Closed

Ravi Dallas TX Jun 25, 2014 07:09am

But the problem is, after couple of meetings Pakistan is pressurized to raise Kashmir issue and India takes one step back. We've seen it before several times. Some in India feel Pakistsn talks about trade so it can raise Kashmir issue during talks. Pakistan has to decide what exactly it wants from this relationship when India's stance is pretty strong on Kashmir.

Prakash Jun 25, 2014 08:07am

On trade and terrorism the ball is in Pakistan's court.Trial on Mumbai massacre is going no where as Judge & prosecutor are changed frequently and dates of trial are postponed,Pakistan should also hand over Dawood Ibrahim to India ,who is living lavishly in Karachi.Modi can not deliver if issues of terrorism is not addressed.Pakistan have failed to give concrete evidence of Indian interference in Baluchistan.Pakistan has not granted MFN status to India after so many deadlines have crossed.

Ahmed Jun 25, 2014 08:07am

The real problem is...nobody on both the sides knows what the problems are...and how to fix this problem...:-)

Sunil Jun 25, 2014 08:49am

Outstanding problems between India and Pakistan, can it really be fixed!!! in spite of several meetings. Core issue Kashmir.

samina Jun 25, 2014 09:13am

Talks will not yield any result period. All issues including kashmir will be solved in a few decades when a prime minister from other community is elected and this will happen sooner than expected due to rapid demographic changes in India.

Gautham Jun 25, 2014 09:40am

I never understand why this conversation is called 'back channel' suggesting there is something inappropriate or secretive about the talks. If the guys are going to talk tough topics away from media glare, you could call them 'fair and straight talks which will be conducted away from media glare'. Why 'back channel'? As if all 'front channels' have become incompetent.

ansh Jun 25, 2014 10:14am

Modi invited all saarc members, visited Bhutan, now swaraj in bangladesh, we helping Afgan, Now back channel dialogue with Pak. Is it a just a step to improve relations with neighbors? I doubt this is Indo-Usa strategy to contain China.

Jahil Jun 25, 2014 10:49am

@samina We know what you mean but you fail to realize that the 'other' community in India is as patriotic as the rest.

rad786 Jun 25, 2014 11:02am

What a colossal waste of time. Let's please focus on our internal struggles. Both countries have plenty issues of their own, with Pakistan having a whole lot more. With this in mind, do you think either country has the time or will be inclined to help one another? I seriously doubt it.

js Jun 25, 2014 01:03pm

Your very name offends Indians, drop the word Islamic from it and then maybe we can talk.

neelofer Jun 25, 2014 05:21pm

@Jahil Yes maybe but what about respect for minorities.

pradeep Jun 25, 2014 06:10pm

We Indian as well as Pakistani have desired an uninterrupted peace for better future, but who is there, who derailed the process. A Pakistani is not enemy of Indian and vice versa. we all are human being and starving for brotherhood-ness rather then diplomatic type friendship.

mashki Jun 25, 2014 06:15pm

@samina : Fully agree with your comment until then all stake holders and the core issue has to wait as it will not yield any results through talks or any other means , follow policy of wait and watch.

High Def Jun 25, 2014 06:17pm

@samina please be explicit which community r u referring too

zak Jun 25, 2014 06:38pm

@Sunil Thank you for your one sincere answer.

Skewrbuchen Jun 25, 2014 10:40pm

I thing the reporting is not correct. I was present in the Carnegie when the Ambassador spoke. His remarks was in the context of the initial steps taken by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif alast year including the revival of the back channel diplomacy.

vicky Jun 25, 2014 10:46pm

@samina yeah yeah. Keep dreaming. First sort the things in ur own backyard.

vicky Jun 25, 2014 10:51pm

@mashki. There you go. This very mentality will ultimately bring about ur downfall. Rightly said, lets wait and watch.

lashkari Jun 26, 2014 02:55am

Talks will fail definitely no two thoughts about that , because of language barrier , Pakistanis understand Urdu while Indians Hindi so we have to wait until both speak common language Pakistan speaking Hindi is not possible but India speaking Urdu not only possible but inevitable but we have to wait for few years for that to happen maybe next lokhasabha elections .

Rumi Jun 26, 2014 03:25am

Let there be trade, for God's sake.

I belong to the Pakistani side of Kashmir and nothing would please me more than opening of trade routes between the two countries. It'd mean more jobs, choices and money. I, for one, don't care who Hafiz Saeed/Dawood Ibrahim etc is or what they are doing on the other side of the LOC in the name of 'Jihad'.

Pakistan and India need to learn from China and Japan. Their trade volume exceeded $333 bn this year despite historic animosity and territorial disputes.

someone Jun 26, 2014 06:02am

@samina How about a Hindu or Sikh PM in Pakistan for a change??? May be that would help to fix the issues.

DCM Jun 26, 2014 06:43am

@neelofer - Infinitely better than in the neighboring state!

Razak Jun 26, 2014 07:38am

@someone Alice please be practical for god's sake , i think you are in wonderland.

lamenter Jun 26, 2014 08:59am

@DCM All people are good until somebody screws their mind one drop of poison is enough to spoil a ocean of milk and people will be tempted by hate mongers to take advantage of helpless woman, steal other's property , kill innocent people.

zamin Jun 26, 2014 12:41pm

@lamenter i second that.

kureshi Jun 26, 2014 12:42pm

@lamenter Well Said and so True is the nature of Man.