No bilateral talks between Jaishankar, Qureshi in Dushanbe: Report
EAM Jaishankar, his Pak counterpart Qureshi are attending ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in Dushanbe
Minister of Foreign Affairs S Jaishankar on Monday arrived in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe for the ninth edition of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) conference. Significantly, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is also attending the key conference aimed at promoting regional and international peace in war-torn Afghanistan.
However, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister on Sunday said that no meeting has been scheduled with his Indian counterpart in Tajikistan on the sidelines of the ministerial conference of the Heart of Asia. Speaking to Dawn newspaper, Qureshi said that “no meeting has been finalised or requested”.
S Jaishankar also affirmed that no meeting with his Pakistani counterpart has been scheduled during his three-day visit to Tajikistan.
“My scheduling is in progress. So far I do not think any such meeting (is scheduled),” he said, in response to a query at a Conclave in Delhi on March 26.
As per reports, the last meeting between the Foreign Affairs Ministers of India and Pakistan took place in May 2019 in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting. The 2019 SCO meeting saw the participation of the then EAM (late) Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Over the past few months, India and Pakistan are leaning towards reducing tensions between the two sides. In February 2021, India and Pakistan announced the observance of a strict ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors. The decision was taken after discussions between the Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan over the established mechanism of hotline contact.
“The two sides reviewed the situation along the Line of Control and all other sectors in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere,” the Defence Ministry statement read.
Meanwhile, representatives from at least 50 countries and international organisations are participating in the HoA-IP ministerial conference to discuss regional security, stability, and peace in Afghanistan. Launched in November 2011 in Turkey, the conference provides a forum to leaders from Afghanistan and neighbouring countries to come together and discuss disputes and differences with the aim of establishing peace and stability in the region.
Addressing the Heart of Asia conference on Tuesday, S Jaishankar extended India’s support towards establishing peace in Afghanistan under the aegis of the United Nations.
“India has been supportive of all the efforts being made to accelerate the dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban, including intra-Afghan negotiations,” the minister added.
On Monday, Jaishankar met Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in Dushanbe and held talks on the Afghan peace process. Last week, Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar visited India and held discussions with his Indian counterpart Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval to discuss the Afghan peace process and explore ways to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries.