ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said on Wednesday that there was no breakthrough in talks with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar.

The foreign secretary, who had gone to Delhi on Tuesday to attend the Heart of Asia Senior Officials’ meeting, held about an hour and half long talks with his Indian counterpart on bilateral issues, including resumption of the peace dialogue.

It was expected that the talks might lead to progress towards the start of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue which was agreed by the two countries in December last year.

“I would not say there is a breakthrough, but we conveyed our concerns forthrightly,” Mr Chaudhry said at a media briefing on his India visit.

He said he had stressed the need for a “structured, sustained and result-oriented comprehensive dialogue process”, resolving the Kashmir dispute and conducting a fair trial in the Samjhauta Express attack case. He also expressed concern over the involvement of Indian spy agency RAW in subversive activities in Pakistan and said “such acts undermine efforts for normalisation”.

He said the Indian foreign secretary did not indicate any date for his visit to Pakistan for discussing a timetable of the comprehensive dialogue.

The two secretaries were to meet in mid-January in Islamabad, but the sitting had to be postponed because of the Pathankot attack. The two countries have not so far been able to reschedule the meeting.

“Pakistan is ready for dialogue, whenever India agrees to it,” Mr Chaudhry said.

While a statement by the Indian external affairs ministry on the foreign secretaries’ meeting contained no mention of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue, the Pakistani statement expressed “hope” that the two countries would remain “committed to sustained, meaningful and comprehensive” dialogue process.

Mr Chaudhry would not say if the absence of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue from the Indian statement implied a change in Delhi’s position on the dialogue.

However, in reply to a question, he said Indians also did not deny the importance of the dialogue for resolving outstanding issues.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2016

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