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    Indian and Pakistani flags are lowered during a daily retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan joint border check post of Attari-Wagah near Amritsar, India, Tuesday, July 21, 2015

    India Cautiously Accepts Pakistan’s Offer for Meeting Between Foreign Ministers

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    Asia & Pacific
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    India has categorically clarified that the agreement to hold a meeting between the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers should not be considered a resumption of bilateral dialogue, which remains stalled since 2016 following a series of terror attacks on Indian military camps.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — India has agreed to hold a bilateral meeting at the foreign ministry level with Pakistan in response to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's letter to his Indian counterpart earlier this week.

    "I can confirm that on the request of the Pakistani side, a meeting between India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will take place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly at a mutually convenient date and time," Raveesh Kumar, India's minister of external affairs spokesperson, said on Thursday.

    This should not be confused with the resumption of any dialogue. This meeting has been agreed to on the basis of the request we have received from the Pakistani side. … This does not indicate any change in policy as far as our stand on terrorism and cross-border terrorism are concerned, Kumar further stated.

    Pakistan's High Commission in New Delhi had, on September 17, handed over a letter written by the country's Prime Minister Imran Khan to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposing a meeting between the foreign ministers in the last week of September.  

    "Pakistan remains ready to discuss terrorism," Prime Minister Imran Khan's letter mentioned.

    India has also made it clear that it has not yet agreed to the resumption of the SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) annual summit, which remains suspended since 2016. Islamabad was to host the SAARC summit that year, but after India boycotted the summit following terror attacks on its military camps, the seven-member SAARC has not held its annual summit to date.

    READ MORE: US Wants to Support India, Pakistan in Bilateral Dialogue Resumption – Official

    "Atmosphere in the region is not conducive for the SAARC summit and it is not only India which feels this way; there are a number of countries in the region who have accordingly felt that under the shadow of terrorism and cross-border terrorism, it is difficult to hold the summit," India's Foreign Ministry spokesperson told the media.

    The bilateral relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated following terror attacks in 2016 on Indian military camps. The two sides continue to accuse each other of frequent ceasefire violations along the de facto border in Kashmir, a territory that both countries claim as their own.   

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    peace talks, terrorism, policy, dialogue, Indian Foreign Ministry, UN, Narendra Modi, Imran Khan, India, Kashmir, Pakistan
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