Signs of thaw in India-Pakistan ties emerge in 2015

Thursday, Dec 24, 2015,13:08 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Islamabad | After months of frosty relations, India-Pakistan ties seem to have thawed following a series of high- level meetings between their leaders that led to revival of talks in 2015, a year that also saw a series of terror attacks in Pakistan and collapse of the peace dialogue with Taliban. After the year began on a sour note over bail granted to Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and ceasefire violations, bitterness was reduced following a meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries on the sidelines of the climate change conference in Paris on November 30.

The brief meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif set the stage for the meeting of their National Security Advisors (NSAs) in Bangkok within a week. This was followed by the December meeting of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with her counterpart Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad. Indo-Pak ties dipped to an all-time low in August after their first-ever NSA-level talks were called off at the last minute when the two countries engaged in a war of words over Kashmiri separatists but neither was willing to blink.

Breaking the logjam in their ties only this month, the two countries decided to engage in a comprehensive dialogue that will include peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir. Named as Comprehensive Peace Process, it is only different in name from the Composite Peace Process, derailed in 2008 after running for five years when militants launched terrible attacks on Mumbai.

One of the main features of the new format is exclusive talks between the national security advisors on the issue of terrorism. Pakistan succeeded in including Kashmir in the new format of talks and the two foreign secretaries have been tasked to head the group which will try to disentangle the knot of the decades-old issue.
Aziz, Pakistan’s advisor in foreign affairs, briefing parliament about the revival of talks said they would discuss peace and security, Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, Economic and Commercial cooperation, Counter-Terrorism, Narcotics Control and Humanitarian Issues, People to People Exchanges and religious tourism.

This dialogue includes all the subjects of the Composite Dialogue, with some additions, he said. It was also decided that terrorism would be discussed by the two National Security Advisers as part of this Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue. Pakistan has proposed to India middle of January for talks here between their Foreign secretaries to discuss all outstanding issues.