India, Pakistan foreign ministers to meet during UNGA session

India, Pakistan foreign ministers to meet during UNGA session My Country

NEW DELHI: The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan will meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this month, the Indian foreign ministry confirmed on Thursday.

It would be the first such high-level meeting in years between the two countries.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had written to his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, suggesting their foreign ministers meet in New York to try to break an impasse in ties.

With Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gearing for elections by the middle of next year, prospects of a rapprochement are low. The BJP has long advocated a tough stance towards Pakistan.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said New Delhi had agreed to a meeting between Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

He sought to play down hopes of a full resumption in talks between the neighbours that have been in deep chill ever since coordinated attacks in Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed by militants.

“This is just a meeting, too much should not be read into the proposed meeting,” Kumar said.

“This is not a resumption of dialogue. They asked for a meeting, we said yes.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan called for a resumption of talks with India in a letter to Modi. The Foreign Office (FO) said the premier has responded to Modi in a “positive manner” and urged the Indian government to talk and resolve all issues.

The Indian prime minister had earlier written to Imran congratulating him on assuming office. In response, the prime minister penned a letter to his Indian counterpart and expressed his desire to renew dialogue between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

India, Pakistan foreign ministers to meet during UNGA session My Country