Indian Foreign Secretary to arrive on March 3

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ISLAMABAD: The Indian government has informed Islamabad that its foreign secretary would visit Pakistan on March 3rd and 4th, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Wednesday. “Pursuant to Prime Minister Modi’s call to Premier Nawaz Sharif on 13 February, 2015, Indian Foreign Secretary Mr S. Jaishankar would visit Pakistan on 3-4 March, 2015,” FO spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said in Islamabad. She said,”During his visit, Mr Jaishankar would hold a meeting with Foreign Secretary Mr Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.”

Both sides have started preparations for the much-anticipated visit.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, during his conversation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif earlier this month, said that Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar would visit South Asian capitals, including Islamabad.

Earlier Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin had said at a briefing that S. Jaishankar will travel to Islamabad where “India will push its agenda” during bilateral meetings with officials.

“The foreign secretary will visit all SAARC countries including Pakistan,” Akbaruddin had told reporters without giving specific dates.

In a live Q&A session on the Facebook, Syed Akbaruddin, while replying to a question, said: “We stand ready to talk with Pakistan in accordance with the Simla Agreement on all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.”

The two countries had, during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Delhi in May last year for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration, agreed on a meeting of their foreign secretaries to discuss the way forward in the relationship.

The meeting was later scheduled for August 28, but the Indian side pulled out of the meeting at the last minute on the pretext that Pakistani High Commissioner to India had consulted Kashmiri leadership.