The Kashmir issue was raised by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his first meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, a top Pakistani advisor said today, discounting reports that the issue was sidelined during the talks. All contentious issues were discussed during the 45-minute meeting between Sharif and Modi in New Delhi, said Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs.
"The issue of Kashmir was raised and to say that Kashmir was sidelined is not correct," Aziz said when asked whether the Kashmir issue was sidelined during the meeting. "Pakistan has a clear stance on Kashmir as without its resolution the objective of long-lasting peace could not be achieved," he said.
Aziz was addressing a press conference on his return from New Delhi along with Prime Minister Sharif to attend India's new Prime Minister Modi's swearing-in ceremony. He also said both countries have agreed to resolve all issues through dialogue and cooperation for bringing peace to the region. Aziz, who heads the foreign ministry and considered very close to Shairf, emphasised that there was a clear recognition of each other's concerns and that outcome of the meeting was much better than what the Pakistani delegation had expected.
Sharif stressed the need for moving forward in the dialogue process in the light of the Lahore Declaration signed in 1999 and work to resolve all outstanding issues. During his visit, Sharif did not meet Kashmiri separatist Hurriyat representatives, a normal norm for most of the Pakistani leadership, nor did he mention Kashmir in his pre-departure statement. Aziz said both countries also agreed to work together for eliminating terrorism.
During the meeting, Modi had voiced India's concerns over terrorism originating from Pakistan. Aziz said issues, including Mumbai attacks and Samjhauta Express incidents, were discussed in the meeting besides confidence building and enhancing bilateral trade. The advisor said during the visit both the Prime Ministers had wide-ranging talks and discussed all contentious issues. Aziz also said both leaders agreed that their foreign secretaries would meet to resume talks to move forward the peace process.