It was not part of comprehensive bilateral dialogue, discussed possible NIA visit: Swarup
New Delhi: India on Thursday sought to downplay the importance of the Indo-Pak foreign secretary-level meet on Tuesday, saying the meet was not part of the comprehensive dialogue but an exercise aimed at taking forward the relationship.
“It was not a meeting to finalise the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD). Ideas were exchanged on how to take forward the relationship including the logical follow up of the Pakistan JIT and the ongoing investigation into the attack at Pathankot airbase.
Both sides will reflect on those ideas. A relationship goes forward through such exchanges and let us remain hopeful,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
Asked whether NIA would visit Pakistan to take the probe into Pathankot attack case to a logical conclusion, Swarup said the two foreign secretaries had an “extensive discussion on probe into Pathankot attack and the JIT visit.”
“They had extensive discussions and they discussed about the logical next step that you are talking about,” he said when asked if the two foreign secretaries discussed a possible visit by NIA to Pakistan in connection with the Pathankot strike.
Swarup also noted that both sides have described the meeting as frank but constructive.
Minister of state for defence VK Singh described the meet as an “unofficial courtesy call”.
“Where we are concerned, JIT (Joint Investigation Team) has gone back, it has conveyed to the foreign secretary when he unofficially on a courtesy call met our foreign secretary that they have to look into our NIA visiting Pakistan. Now he has to go back and take a formal view and convey it to us,” Singh said.
The decision to commence Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue between India and Pakistan was taken during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad in December last where it was also agreed that the two Foreign Secretaries would meet to work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings under the Dialogue, he said.
“Since then the two foreign secretaries have been in touch. What happened the day before yesterday was a meeting between the two foreign secretaries on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia conference. It was not a meeting to finalise the CBD,” Swarup added.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry held talks on the sidelines of the conference during which they discussed sticky issues including terror and Kashmir.
The remarks have surprised many since the meeting on Monday between Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry lasted for over 90 minutes and was projected as a bilateral.
The minister, however, says that the Pakistani foreign secretary was here to attend a regional summit on Afghanistan and met his Indian counterpart “unofficially”.