Sartaj Aziz, the National Security Adviser (NSA) of Pakistan, has hinted that he may visit India soon to “normalise” ties.
Aziz recently told the local media in Islamabad that he decided to attend the Heart of Asia conference in northern Indian city of Amritsar on December 3, saying that main aim of his visit would be to “defuse the tension” between the two South Asian neighbours. “It’s a good opportunity to defuse the tension,” stressed the NSA.
According to Aziz, it is unfortunate that terrorist attacks on an Indian Army base in Kashmir’s Uri District derailed the bilateral peace process in September. He informed the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi though the media that Islamabad was ready to take necessary steps in order to normalise ties with its eastern neighbour. At the same time, the senior Pakistani official urged India to respond positively and resume the peace process.
As far as the issue of terrorism is concerned, Aziz said that Pakistan, too, was worried about growing terrorist activities in the region, adding that it would be better for both India and Pakistan to combat terrorism jointly. Asked whether India would accept his proposal, he said: “It’s early to say. It depends upon the situation.”
Meanwhile, the Pak NSA expressed hope that this year’s Heart of Asia conference would bring peace in Afghanistan. Aziz said that outcome of the conference would be crucial, as the event would mainly focus on the war-ravaged country. He further urged all the participants to seriously find ways to help improve security and bring peace to Afghanistan, stressing that the country has been mired in conflict since a US-led coalition toppled the Taliban government in Kabul in 2001.
Admitting that relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been strained over the past year, Aziz said that the top Afghan political leadership should understand the fact that Islamabad was not backing Taliban leaders and seeking to meddle in Afghan affairs. “Heart of Asia is for Afghanistan and Afghanistan is our priority,” stressed Aziz, adding that Pakistan, like other countries in the region, would try to help Afghanistan make a steady progress.
The Pak foreign policy chief believes that if India and Pakistan normalise their ties, then it will be easier for them to help Afghanistan overcome the ongoing crisis. Aziz claimed that his upcoming visit to India would be the first step to restart the peace process, saying that the prosperity of South Asia depends on the nature of Indo-Pak relations.