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India

Modi sending Foreign Secy to Pak soon

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By EMN Updated: Feb 13, 2015 10:08 pm
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Agencies
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 13

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sending Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyan Jaishankar to Pakistan as part of a regional tour, the first top-ranking visit since Modi broke off talks last year over the disputed region of Kashmir.
The sign of a thaw in ties comes weeks after a visit to India by US President Barack Obama.
The United States has long privately encouraged dialogue between India and Pakistan hoping that better ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours could lead to cooperation in other areas such as Afghanistan.Modi called his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, early on Friday to wish his country luck in the World Cup cricket tournament beginning this weekend and to tell him that Jaishankar will soon visit Islamabad as well as other regional capitals.
The Indian government last year abruptly called off talks between the foreign secretaries, incensed that Pakistan`s envoy in New Delhi had hosted Kashmiri separatists in the run-up to those talks.
India considers the whole of Kashmir as an integral part of the country and the decision by Modi`s government to pull the plug on talks with Pakistan represented a stiffening of India`s stand on the 68-year-old dispute over the territory.
Pakistan criticised the decision to cancel the talks and there have since been calls, including from within India, that the two countries must remain engaged.
Sharif told Modi that he welcomed the proposed visit of the Indian envoy to Pakistan to discuss all issues of common interest, the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement.
The neighbours have fought two wars over Kashmir since independence from Britain in 1947 and ties remain difficult since a 2008 attack on Mumbai by Pakistan-based gunmen.
India wants speedy trials of those suspected to have orchestrated the attacks. Pakistan says it is doing all it can.
Modi said in a Twitter post that he called the leaders of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, besides Pakistan to wish them luck in the cricket tournament being held in Australia.
India play Pakistan in their opening game on Sunday.

India’s permanent UNSC seat unacceptable: Sharif

PTI
ISLAMABAD, FEBRUARY 13

India’s permanent membership in the reformed UN Security Council is unacceptable to Pakistan as it has not complied with UN resolutions on Kashmir, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has told US President Barack Obama.
The US President called Sharif last night and both leaders discussed issues of mutual interest and those related to regional stability and peace for over half-an-hour, officials here said.
During their conversation, Sharif expressed reservations about US support for India’s bid to secure a permanent UN Security Council seat.
Sharif told Obama that India cannot become a UNSCpermanent member due to its non-compliance of all the resolutions passed by the UN on Kashmir and has “not fulfilled the commitment to give the right of self-determination to people of Kashmir,” officials said.
“India does not deserve to be a permanent member of the UN,” Sharif was quoted as saying.
During his unprecedented second India visit last month, President Obama had reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member.
In his telephonic conversation with Obama, Sharif also said that Pakistan wanted to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Obama, during his India visit, had also reaffirmed the US’ position that India is ready for NSG membership.
Obama visited India last month and was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade, the first US President to do so. In his conversation with Sharif, Obama also discussed his India visit.
Sharif asked Obama to impress upon India to resume peace dialogue with Pakistan to address all outstanding issues including Kashmir, The News reported.
The two leaders also exchanged views about bilateral issues including terrorism and Obama congratulated Sharif on the success of operation ‘Zarb-i-Azb’ to wipe out militants from the North Waziristan tribal region.
The two also decided to meet at a convenient date.
The White House, in a statement on Obama’s call to Sharif, said, “the President discussed his recent visit to India, and noted the United States supports all efforts by both nations to improve ties.”
Obama had also telephoned Sharif before going to India and had promised to take him into confidence at the conclusion of the visit.

Talks only way forward to resolve
Indo-Pak issues: Hurriyat Conference

PTI
SRINAGAR, FEBRUARY 13

Talks are the only way forward for resolving all the outstanding issues between India and Pakistan including Kashmir, moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference on Friday said.
“Talks are the only option between the two neighbours to resolve all outstanding issues including Kashmir,” moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said in a statement here.
“The dialogue holds the key for both the nuclear powered neighbours to move forward, keeping in mind the past bitter experiences,” the Hurriyat said.
The ties between India and Pakistan headed for a thaw as Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif and said he would be sending the new Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on a ‘SAARC Yatra’ to “further strengthen our ties”.

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By EMN Updated: Feb 13, 2015 10:08:43 pm