India flags concerns over cross-border terror, 26/11 trial with Pakistan

Islamabad: India on Tuesday flagged its concerns over cross-border terrorism and the slow-moving Mumbai terror attack trial to Pakistan as Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar met his Pakistani counterpart here.

In talks that Jaishankar said were "held in a constructive and positive atmosphere", both countries agreed that maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border was vital.

The meeting between Jaishankar and his Pakistan counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary comes seven months after India called off the foreign secretary-level talks over the Pakistani envoy in New Delhi hobnobbing with Kashmiri separatists, ignoring India's objections.

Jaishankar, who arrived here earlier on Tuesday, called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the evening. He also met Sartaz Aziz, advisor on national security and foreign affairs, and Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to Sharif.

Jaishankar, here as part of a SAARC Yatra initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, held talks with Chaudhary after landing here in the morning from Dhaka. Both sides discussed bilateral issues and agreed to work together to find common ground and narrow their differences.

Jaishankar said that he reiterated India's "known concerns on cross-border terrorism, including on the Mumbai case". India has consistently conveyed its concerns to Pakistan over the delay in the trial of the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

After talks with Chaudhary, the Indian foreign secretary said in reply to a question that he was glad to be in Islamabad as part of Modi's SAARC initiative. He said he "conveyed the expectations of our leadership on SAARC and their determination to forge a cooperative relationship with all our neighbours".

He said India and Pakistan "discussed ideas and initiatives to take SAARC forward. "Pakistan will be the next SAARC chair, and India would like to work with Pakistan to help SAARC achieve its potential. "Naturally, my visit provided an opportunity to discuss our bilateral relations.

"We engaged on each other's concerns and interests in an open manner. We agreed to work together to find common ground and narrow differences," said Jaishankar. Chaudhary, addressing the media separately, said both countries agreed to work together and find common grounds to narrow differences, but added that his talks with Jaishankar "did not mark resumption of bilateral talks".

Chaudhary said: "We agreed to reduce the prevailing tension along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary that has claimed scores of lives on both sides of the border." He said issues ranging from "India's interference in Balochistan", the Samjhauta Express bombing case, and the LoC ceasefire violations were brought to India's attention.

He said the overall tone of the meeting was "positive" and that both countries were ready to reflect on matters of importance to them. Jaishankar is on a four-nation South Asian trip. After visiting Bhutan and Bangladesh, he reached Pakistan on Tuesday. He will be in Afghanistan on Wednesday.

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