Sartaj Aziz says to visit India, hints at detente
ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz said on Tuesday he plans to attend the Heart of Asia conference in India and suggested the visit could be used to “defuse the tension” between the nuclear armed neighbours.
Sartaj Aziz’s trip to India would be the first by a senior Pakistani official since gunmen raided an army base in Indian-occupied Kashmir and killed 19 soldiers in September, an attack New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
The killing of Indian soldiers soured relations and led to a weeks of diplomatic quarrelling, with both Islamabad and New Delhi accusing opposing diplomats of spying and then expelling them.
“Its a good opportunity to defuse the tension,” Aziz, he told the state-run PTV channel.
Despite hinting at a possible detente, Aziz said there was no official meeting scheduled with Indian officials.
“Its early to say. Depends upon the situation,” he said.
The Heart of Asia conference focusing on Afghanistan is due to be held in the first week of December in the northwestern Indian city of Amritsar.
The conference will seek ways to help improve security and bring peace to Afghanistan, which has been mired in conflict since a U.S.-led coalition toppled the hardline Taliban government in 2001.
“Heart of Asia is for Afghanistan and Afghanistan is our priority,” said Aziz.