Foreign Affairs adviser calls Nawaz-Modi meeting ceremonious

*Sartaj says Kashmir, other key issues were not on agenda *No meeting with Hurriyat leaders during ceremonial visit

ISLAMABAD – National Security and Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz has said that the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was ceremonious and Kashmir and other key issues were not on the agenda.

Addressing a press conference upon his return from India, he said that Kashmir issue had not been sidelined. “Kashmir was discussed in New Delhi, but it was not substantially on the agenda. Whenever Kashmir is discussed, the view of Hurriyat Conference leaders has to be taken along,” he said.

He emphasised that there was a clear recognition of each other’s concerns and that outcome of the meeting was much better than what the Pakistani delegation had expected. Prime Minister Nawaz visited India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-elected Indian prime minister in New Delhi. The two leaders had a 50-minute meeting the next day when they discussed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.

“The meeting was with a clear strategic vision and was not just a photo opportunity,” the adviser told journalists. Prime Minister Nawaz had recalled the Lahore declaration during his meeting with Modi which calls on both the countries to intensify efforts for solving the Kashmir issue, he said. He also said that Nawaz and Modi agreed that all the matters should be addressed through dialogue.

Commenting on the probe into the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Sartaj said that the Pakistani delegation advised Prime Minister Modi to let the law take its course. “No assurances were asked for in this regard and none were give,” he said. Modi had told Prime Minister Nawaz that the investigation into the attacks was slow and that the pace of the probe needed to be expedited.

To a question, the adviser said the Mumbai attack issue was not discussed in detail and hence those points were not raised. The slow progress in the Samjhauta Express bombing case was brought up during the meeting, he said. Both the leaders agreed dialogue was the right way to move forward and that the head of states and foreign secretaries should meet each other soon on mutually convenient dates.

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