External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi will meet in New York later this month, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed on Thursday. “I can confirm that on the request of the Pakistani side, a meeting between EAM and Pakistani foreign minister will take place on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at a mutually convenient date and time,” Kumar said.
Swaraj will leave for New York on September 24. She and Qureshi are to attend the SAARC foreign ministers’ lunch and get-together on September 27.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi dated September 14, 2018, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said the latter was ready to discuss all issues between the two countries, including terrorism. He also suggested a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two nations on the sidelines of the UNGA meeting.
Early in the day, interacting to reporters Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said Pakistan was awaiting a formal response from India and there were talks to initiate bilateral talks between the two countries.
“The Pakistan PM has responded to PM Modi, in a positive spirit, reciprocating his sentiments. Let’s talk and resolve all issues. We await a formal response from India,” Faisal was quoted by ANI as saying.
Responding to a question on the controversial issue of Kartarpur corridor opening, Faisal further said, “so far no formal communication between the two countries has taken place,” Faisal said, responding to a question on the controversial issue of opening the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara corridor.
On Tuesday, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu stirred controversy after he claimed that Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa told him that the Pakistani Government was working for the opening of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims from the Indian state of Punjab.
Faisal also said that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who visited Pakistan last week, was briefed about the Line of Control (LoC) situation. He said Pakistan kept its friends, particularly China, appraised of the situation on the LoC and Kashmir, as any escalation could have serious consequences for the whole region.
The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place. The ties between the countries had strained after Pakistan-based terror groups launched attacks in India in 2016.