Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, responding to a question on whether diplomacy between India and Pakistan would be affected by the LoC firing, said, “We are all aware that maintenance of peace and tranquility on the border is of highest importance in establishing the preconditions for peaceful and normal relations between India and Pakistan.” Ms. Singh also maintained that “sari and shawl diplomacy” fit in with India’s policy towards its neighbours. Last month, Mr. Modi had sent a shawl as a gift for Mr. Sharif’s mother in Lahore. The exchange of letters seems to indicate Mr. Modi’s desire for more direct diplomacy with Mr. Sharif , whom he addressed as “Mian Sahab.” Many in the government were taken by surprise at the speed of correspondence that may indicate an unofficial channel at work between the Indian and Pakistani leadership.
In April this year, The Hindu has learnt, members of team Modi met with high-ranking Pakistani officials, including Mr. Sharif’s Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz. It remains to be seen whether the back-channel negotiations that were carried out by Dr. Manmohan Singh’s special envoy Satinder Lambah will also be continued in the new government.
The Indian Foreign Secretary said she and her Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry would be speaking “by and by” about a possible meeting between them, as was discussed by Mr. Modi and Mr. Sharif when they met in Delhi. The last time India-Pakistan foreign secretaries met for talks was in July 2012. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit travelled to Islamabad in June for consultations on the dates for the next talks, which may be held in September at the UN General Assembly.
Keywords: Modi-Sharif letter exchange