Hope for fruitful Indo-Pak dialogue at Heart of Asia conference: NCP

| Updated: Dec 04, 2016 13:53 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec. 4 (ANI): Asserting that it was a positive development that Islamabad had not pulled out of the Heart of Asia conference despite the recent spree of cross-border attacks, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Sunday expressed hope to see some ice breaking between the hostile neighbours at the conference. "The fact is that despite the current bitterness, Sartaj Aziz has not cancelled his visit and has come here, which is a good sign. Sometimes when leaders meet, even without agenda, it can bear fruit. It will be a welcome step if Sartaj's Indian counterpart speaks to him during the event, the ice can be broken," NCP leader Majid Memon told ANI here. However, there has been no official confirmation of talks between India and Pakistan at the conference, which kicked off in Amritsar on Saturday. Earlier, Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz arrived here on Saturday evening, ahead of his scheduled arrival for the Heart of Asia conference. The conference will be jointly inaugurated by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will also hold a bilateral meeting, which is to be their fourth such meeting this year. Ahead of the Conference, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) ruled out the possibility of any talks with Aziz, saying terrorism was a "calculated strategy" of Pakistan. "Pakistan is a country which has a long record of carrying out cross-border terrorism which it regards as an instrument of state policy. India has always been open to talks, but obviously it cannot be that talks take place in an atmosphere of continued terrorism. The sooner Pakistan stops cross-border terrorism, the sooner bilateral relations can come back on track," MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. (ANI)
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