First India-Pak Foreign Ministers’ Face-off After Ceasefire Pact, No Bilateral Meeting Scheduled Yet


India and Pakistan foreign ministers will be in a key meeting on Afghanistan in Dushanbe on Tuesday, along with about 30 countries. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had reached Tajikistan’s capital for the meeting on Monday.

However, said no bilateral meeting has been scheduled so far between India and Pakistan. Jaishankar held separate talks with his counterparts from Iran and Turkey on the sidelines of the multilateral conference.

The external affairs minister described his conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif as “warm” and said it covered bilateral cooperation, including the Chabahar port project. “Began my Heart of Asia engagements with a meeting with Iranian FM @JZarif. A warm conversation that underlined our convergences. Also discussed our bilateral cooperation, including Chabahar,” he said in a tweet.

Located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the southern coast of energy-rich Iran, the Chabahar port is being developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan to boost trade ties. India handed over two 140-tonne mobile harbour cranes to the authorities of the Chabahar port in Iran on Sunday as both sides reviewed their overall cooperation in developing the transit hub.

The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process is an initiative aimed at bringing together all the key stakeholders to bring lasting peace and stability in war-ravaged Afghanistan. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is also attending the Heart of Asia conference. It is not clear whether Jaishankar and Qureshi will have a meeting in Dushanbe.

About his talks with the Turkish foreign minister, Jaishankar said the discussions focused on Afghanistan-related developments and bilateral relations. “Met FM @MevlutCavusoglu of Turkey on the sidelines of @HeartofAsia_IP. Our discussions focused on Afghanistan-related developments and our bilateral relations,” he said in another tweet.

India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested USD 2 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country. India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process that is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

Last week, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar visited India during which Jaishankar conveyed India’s long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign and stable Afghanistan to him. After arriving In Tajikistan on Monday, Jaishankar also visited the Dushanbe-Chortut highway project site and lauded India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for its “good work” there.

“Visited the Dushanbe-Chortut Highway Project site. Good work being done by @BROindia under our grant assistance. The 8-lane highway will decongest Dushanbe,” he said in another tweet.

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