After Modi’s Lahore ‘masterstroke’, Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries to meet on Jan 15

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New Delhi: India and Pakistan appear all set to fast-track bilateral talks with the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries likely to meet on January 15 in Islamabad.
Sources said Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will travel to Islamabad on January 15 to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.

An official announcement to this effect is still awaited.

The news comes in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Pakistan yesterday.

Modi took the world by surprise on Friday when he announced around noon that he would make a brief stopover in Lahore on his way back to New Delhi from Islamabad to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who celebrated his birthday yesterday.

Sharif personally received Modi at Lahore airport and also came to see him off. In between, the two held one-on-one 90-minute long talks at Sharif’s estate near Lahore.

The duo travelled to Sharif’s ancestral home in Raiwind town together in a Pakistani government chopper.

While exact details of the meeting have not been disclosed, it was reported that the duo agreed to open ways for peace for the “larger good” of the people of the two countries.

The surprise visit was described by many as a diplomatic masterstroke, while the main opposition Congress party dubbed it as “ridiculous” and “bizarre”.

Earlier this month, India and Pakistan had agreed to resume bilateral talks and rename them as Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj traveled to Islamabad for an Afghan conference and held talks with the top Pakistani leadership.

Sources said the meeting between Foreign Secretaries of the two countries will discuss modalities of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.

The peace process was set in motion when the prime ministers of the two countries met in Paris on November 30 on the sidelines of the Climate Change Conference which was followed by the National Security Advisers’ meeting in Bangkok a week later.

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