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Swaraj likely to travel to Pakistan next week


New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is likely to travel to Pakistan next week for a multilateral meeting, a move that could break the impasse in Indo-Pak ties.

Pakistan is hosting a 14-nation ministerial-level conference on December 8 to discuss regional cooperation on Afghanistan. Swaraj has been invited but New Delhi has so far given no indication whether she will attend.

However, informed sources said here tonight that prospects of the Indian minister’s visit were “fairly bright” but a final decision was likely to be announced by Friday.

The MEA Spokesperson, however, maintained that though the invitation from Pakistan has been accepted for the conference the level of participation has not been decided so far.

Swaraj’s possible visit may also indicate breaking of impasse created in Indo-Pak ties after the cancellation of a meeting between the NSAs of the two countries in August amid mutual blame game.

Significantly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a brief but warm chat with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of climate meet in Paris last Monday after which Sharif told Pakistani media that the talks were held in a “good way, in a good environment”.

“I had good discussions with the Indian Prime Minister in a good way, in a good environment and even they have expressed that we should take our issues forward. And we also have the same opinion and hope,” he said.

The US also welcomed the brief meeting between Modi and Sharif in Paris.

“We always welcome these kinds of exchanges and dialogue between India and Pakistan,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters yesterday when asked about the meeting.

“A constructive relationship between the two countries is not only good for the two countries but good for the region and the stability of the region,” Toner said.

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