New Delhi: The Indian government on Thursday sidestepped media queries on some claims in the Pakistani media that back-channel secret talks had begun between the two countries over a year ago, with New Delhi saying both countries had “functioning high commissions” in each other’s capitals that are a “very effective channel of communication”.
The Pakistani media reports had further claimed that if the confidence-building measures (CBMs) hold and ties improve further, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may pay a visit to Islamabad for the Saarc summit there later this year. The developments come in the wake of a sudden perceptible improvement in India-Pakistan ties in the past six weeks following the implementation of the ceasefire at the Line of Control by the armies of the two countries.
“Our respective high commissions exist and are functioning. So that’s a very effective channel of communication”, MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday, in response to reporters’ queries on the back-channel talks. When asked whether there could be any Saarc summit in Islamabad which could be attended by Prime Minister Modi, as claimed in Pakistani media reports, the MEA spokesman termed it as “speculation”, adding that he did not have anything to share on this for now.
Just last week, in a “swift U-turn” on Thursday following a “political backlash”, the Pakistan government had “deferred” its move to import cotton and sugar from India and linked it to the condition that India should first restore Article 370 on Jammu and Kashmir that was abrogated two years ago. However, some optimistic Pakistani media reports are referring to this as a “temporary bump”.