India is set to raise the issue of the Pathankot terror attack with Pakistan and seek information about action taken by it as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets with her Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz in this resort town of Nepal . The two are expected to meet around 2:30 pm (local time), which would be the first time they come face-to-face formally after the January 2 attack on the key Indian Air Force base.
Incidentally, both Aziz and Swaraj met this morning over breakfast at the Fishtail hotel on Fewa river here ahead of the 37th SAARC Council of Ministers Meeting. The two, who were again seated together like at the dinner last night, even went to the side and had nearly five minutes of a one-on-one conversation after the breakfast.
Today’s formal meeting was sought by the Pakistani side to extend an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the SAARC Summit which is being hosted by Pakistan in November. Aziz had yesterday said he is ready to talk about all issues that will be raised by Swaraj.
Highly-placed government sources said that India will seek to gain “knowledge” about the action taken by Pakistan against the perpetrators of the deadly attack on the IAF base in Pathankot.
Asked what more steps India expects than the ones taken by Pakistan, including taking Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar into “protective custody”, the officials said they have not been told anything directly and all information is coming from the media and other channels.
Today’s meeting could eventually pave the way for a meeting between Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in the US later this month. Pakistan is keen that the formal talks between the two sides begin at the earliest.
The Pakistani side is looking at fixing dates for the Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two sides, which were put off after the Pathankot attack. Both the Ministers and their Foreign Secretaries have met informally at least five times.