After a gap of more than two and half years Indian and Pakistani delegations on Monday began the 116th Meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission here. The meeting which coincided with the National Day of Pakistan is being viewed as part of the broader process of normalisation of bilateral ties between the two neighbours.
The two-day meeting of the Commission is being led on the Indian side by Indus Water Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Saxena. The Pakistani delegation is led by Pakistan's Commissioner for Indus Waters Syed Mohammad Mehr Ali Shah. The last meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission was held on August 29, 2018.
Hours after the conclusion of the first day's meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind greeted Pakistan on the occasion of its National Day which marks the March 23, 1940 Lahore Resolution which paved the way for the creation of Pakistan.
At an event to mark the National Day, organised in the Pakistan High Commission, Aftab Hasan Khan, Charge'd Affaires, said, “Pakistan wants to have friendly relations with all countries including India. To achieve peace between India and Pakistan both countries shall resolve all outstanding issues.”
The positive backdrop of the talks between the two delegation has indicated that the interaction is likely supported by the reported back channel talks that are taking place between India and Pakistan. The Hindu has reported earlier that the United Arab Emirates is playing a role in connecting India and Pakistan through back channel negotiations. The issue, however, did not draw a response from the Ministry of External Affairs.