Pakistan’s foreign policy chief, Sartaj Aziz, has said that he plans to attend the Heart of Asia Conference in India on 3 December, suggesting the visit could be used to "defuse the tension" between Islamabad and New Delhi.
"Unlike India, that had sabotaged SAARC summit in Pakistan by pulling out, Pakistan will respond by participating in the Heart of Asia Summit being held in Amritsar, India, on 3 December," Aziz told PTV news on Tuesday.
Aziz, however, said it has not been confirmed yet whether he will meet his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the conference or not. "Despite the fact that Indian forces killed our seven soldiers along Line of Control on Monday, Pakistan will not boycott the conference," Aziz maintained. Aziz’s trip to India would be the first by a senior Pakistani official since Pakistan-sponsored terrorists attacked an army base in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir and killed 19 soldiers in September.
The Heart of Asia Summit focusing on Afghanistan is due to be held in Amritsar, close to the Pakistani border. The summit will seek ways to help improve security and bring peace to Afghanistan, which has been mired in conflict since a US-led coalition toppled the hard-line Taliban government in 2001.
Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have also been strained over the past year, with Kabul accusing Islamabad of harbouring the leaders of Taliban and seeking to meddle in Afghan affairs. Pakistan denies the charge.
Experts in India believe that Pakistan’s decision to attend the summit is driven by the fact that Islamabad is losing its allies in the international arena and is feeling the crunch of isolation, rather than being motivated by the principles of peace and harmony that it often preaches but seldom withholds.
With inputs from IANS.
Prakhar Gupta is a senior editor at Swarajya. He tweets @prakharkgupta.
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