The latest report by CNN-News18 claims that top sources in the Pakistani administration have informed the media house that, the External affairs ministers of India and Pakistan may meet during the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference at Tashkent in the last week of July. According to the sources, Pakistan, which is looking forward to the meeting outside of the SCO summit, is preparing a summary on Kashmir and India for its foreign minister, and the conversation will probably take place on July 27 and 28. SCO conference will set up the SCO Heads of State Council meeting scheduled to take place at Samarkand, where Pakistan is also likely to bring up the Kashmir issue. But the CNN-News18 also informed that it does not have confirmation about the meeting from New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to the conference along with Russian President Putin, Chinese President Xi, Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif and heads of Central Asian States.
If the discussions go forward, they will mark yet another attempt to improve the tense relations between India and Pakistan, who are neighbours. Jaishankar recently agreed during a media event that neighbours should get along but with a condition. In response to a query from the audience, he stated: “How you come to the table is the issue, not whether you come to the table. You were invited to this conference and arrived joyfully wearing your best attire. I also had the option of going to your residence, holding a gun to your head, and dragging you over to this table. On Tuesday, the minister claimed that since 2014, India’s Pakistan policy has been shaped by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to prevent the normalisation of cross-border terrorism. The minister also emphasised that PM Modi’s policies and actions have had a big impact on the world stage.
Recent India-Pakistan talks
A few months ago, India and Pakistan met for the 118th Permanent Indus Commission meeting. A five-person Pakistani team entered India via the Wagah border to attend the meet and discuss their countries’ ongoing water issue. Syed Muhammed, Mehar Ali Shah, Sahibzad Khan, Habib Ullah Bodla, Saman Muneeb, and Khalid Mahmood were members of the Pakistani group, while the six-person delegation from India was led by AK Pal, the country’s new Indus Commissioner.
According to a report by IANS, India and Pakistan held “back channel” discussions, in May, in an attempt to resolve the deadlock in their relations as nuclear-armed neighbours. An Express Tribune article stated that tensions between the two nations have been there for some time and grew worse in August 2019 when India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. “Since then, there has been no formal conversation, a weakening of diplomatic ties, and a suspension of bilateral trade. But even before Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s administration assumed office, the two nations were conversing, perhaps subtly “claimed the report.
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These interactions resulted in the agreement to renew the ceasefire in February 2021, and since that time, there have been no significant violations of the ceasefire. However, no breakthrough in the process would have allowed the two nations to resume their talks. Call it Track II, back channels, or behind-the-scenes discussions, but the official sources told The Express Tribune that the relevant individuals in both countries were in contact with one another. However, the source claimed that he was unaware of all the specifics of those meetings and added that the whole point of “back channels” was to keep conversations secret until a concrete decision had been made.
The US and the UK, according to the sources, were also seeking to ease tension and create some official channels of communication between the two South Asian neighbours. It was rumoured that India is willing to restart commerce with Pakistan before moving on to other relations. According to the source, New Delhi was open to entering into a government-to-government arrangement to address Pakistan’s wheat scarcity.
Pakistan aims to import 4 million metric tonnes of wheat this season to make up for its domestic shortage. India is one of the top three producers of wheat in the world. Given the decreased shipping and other logistical costs, Pakistan could import wheat from India at a far lower price. However, Pakistani officials ruled out the chances of getting wheat imports from India as per the status of bilateral ties between the two countries, The Express Tribune report had added.