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Sartaj Aziz confirms he will attend NSA talks in India

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 Islamabad/New Delhi: Ending the suspense, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz  confirmed on Thursday that he will visit India on August 23 for talks with his Indian counterpart  Ajit Doval.

“I can confirm I will proceed to India on August 23 for the NSA talks,” Aziz said while responding to  a question at a joint press conference with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad  Zarif.

The NSA level talks are part of the agreement arrived at between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and  his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif during their July 10 meeting in Ufa, Russia.

The NSA talks are mandated to “discuss all issues connected to terrorism”.

“Although the security talks are not the revival of the Composite Dialogue, the meeting would be ‘ice-breaking’ as we will hold discussions on some important issues,” Aziz said.

“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believes that dialogue is the only option to peacefully resolve issues,” he added.

India had proposed August 23-24 for the NSA talks about a month ago, but Pakistan declined to confirm the dates.

Escalating tensions between the two neighbors since the Ufa meeting had put a big question mark on the talks.

The Gurdaspur and Udhampur terror attacks by suspected Pakistani terrorists added to the heightened tension.

Last week, India decided to boycott a Commonwealth parliamentary meeting in Islamabad in protest against the Jammu and Kashmir assembly speaker not being invited.

Pakistan has invited the speakers of all the Indian states barring Jammu and Kashmir, citing it as disputed territory.

Pakistan has denied any hand in the July 27 Gurdaspur attack in which three armed terrorists sneaked across the border and killed seven people and also laid siege to the Dinanagar police station. The three terrorists were killed after an 11-hour gunfight.

On Aug 5, a Pakistani terrorist was killed and another caught alive after the two ambushed a Border Security Force vehicle in Udhampur in Jammu region and killed two security personnel.

Pakistani authorities have denied that the nabbed man, Usman, is from their country.

There have also been several instances of cross-border firing.

Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said his government was working on the agenda for the NSA talks.

(IANS)

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

Also Read: Water Crisis is Increasing in Cape Town, Red Alert For Africa 

He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)