Long-delayed talks between highly placed Indian and Pakistani officials were held in the Thai capital of Bangkok Sunday. The meeting, which was attended by the foreign secretaries and national security advisers of the two nations, was described in a joint statement as “candid, cordial and constructive.”
“[The talks] were guided by the vision of the two leaders for a peaceful stable and prosperous South Asia,” the joint statement said. “Discussions covered peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, and other issues, including tranquility along the LoC. It was agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement.”
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) December 6, 2015
LoC -- the Line of Control -- refers to a ceasefire line in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that has become the de-facto border between India and Pakistan.
The talks between the two national security advisers, originally scheduled for August in New Delhi, were cancelled after the two sides failed to agree on an agenda. While India has, in the past, insisted that the discussions should focus solely on Pakistan’s alleged support of terrorist groups, Pakistan has remained firm in its stand of including what it terms the disputed territorial status of Kashmir in any future talks.
The two nations have fought three wars over Kashmir since they gained independence from British rule in 1947. And, over the past year, relations between the two longtime foes -- both nuclear-armed -- have deteriorated following several clashes along the LoC.
Both India and Pakistan have maintained a heavy military presence along the LoC since a fragile truce was reached in 2003. However, frequent violations of the tenuous ceasefire have been reported in the region, with each side accusing the other of firing first.
Following Sunday’s talks, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to travel to Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad Monday, the Indian Express reported, citing an unnamed source. “[On Monday] there will be an announcement regarding the Foreign Minister’s visit to Pakistan,” the source told the Indian newspaper.