Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria’s cordial meeting with Pakistan National Security Adviser (NSA) Naseer Khan Janjua in Islamabad on Tuesday evening is being seen in diplomatic and strategic circles as an important step in lowering the current heightened tensions between the two countries.
“There was a free-wheeling discussion at the meeting on the current state of India-Pakistan relations,’’ sources here said on Wednesday.
Speculation is rife that the step-by-step approach adopted by the two sides could even lead to informal engagement on humanitarian issues, particularly those concerning civilian prisoners and fishermen.
However, the formal revival of the dialogue process between the two neighbours does not seem to be a possibility at this stage, given the fact that Pakistan will witness elections later this year.
Bisaria’s meeting with Pakistan’s NSA came within days of India and Pakistan agreeing to amicably resolve the prolonged stand-off over the harassment of diplomats and other staff at their respective missions. Janjua and India’s NSA Ajit Doval are understood to have played a significant role in bringing about the agreement. The two NSAs have established a personal equation between them ever since they met for the first time in Bangkok in December 2015 and are said to be in touch from time to time.
Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood, a soft-spoken and articulate diplomat unlike his predecessor Abdul Basit, is believed to have played a significant role in bringing down the temperature between the two countries. He is also said to be in touch with mandarins at the foreign office in New Delhi.
Sources in the Indian establishment said the Indian envoy, during his meeting with Pakistan’s NSA, raised New Delhi’s concerns with regard to cross-border terrorism and Pakistan’s continued interference in Jammu and Kashmir. It was a pre-planned meeting since envoys regularly call on top dignitaries of their host country, sources said, adding constructive discussions took place on improving the relationship.
The Pakistani side said Janjua expressed his country’s desire to improve relations with India even as he raised concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Both the sides agreed to explore possibilities of more cooperation and of improving bilateral relations to ultimately take it towards the comprehensive process of dialogue,” a statement issued by Islamabad on the meeting said.