No meeting has been scheduled between India and Pakistan during the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar, Dawn reported on Thursday. An official in Islamabad told the daily that India had not shown “any willingness” on its part to hold talks. The Pakistani delegation at the conference will be headed by Sartaj Aziz, the Advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs.
“The ball is in India’s court, for they know we are willing but we don’t know they are willing,” the official said. However, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said New Delhi had not received any request for bilateral talks on the sidelines of the summit, ANI reported. The conference will be co-chaired by Afghanistan’s foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani and Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
At the previous edition of the conference, India and Pakistan had agreed to start a “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue” to resolve outstanding disputes between the two countries, according to IANS. The resumption of talks did not take place because of the Pathankot attack in January.
Relations between Islamabad and New Delhi have worsened following the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on militant camps along the Line of Control on September 29. On November 24, Swarup had said Pakistan violated the ceasefire agreement between the two countries 27 times between November 12 and November 21. Similarly, Islamabad had claimed that three Pakistani soldiers and nine civilians had been killed in cross-border firing when Indian troops launched a massive attack against Pakistani posts along the LoC.
On Tuesday, a militant attack at an at an Indian Army unit in the town of Nagrota in Jammu and Kashmir killed seven soldiers. Documents written in Urdu that were recovered from the three attackers point to the involvement of the Jaish-e-Mohammad in the attack, the militant outfit also believed to be behind the strike at the Pathankot Air Force base.