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Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan, India to Meet in Kabul

NEW DELHI:  Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and his Pakistani counterpart Tehmina Janjua are likely to meet in Kabul this week, Indian media reported.

The report said that the top diplomats of the two neighbouring countries are expected to meet during  Kabul conference.

Mr Gokhale will attend the conference on Wednesday in which 25 countries will be participating.

The report said that though an official one-to-one meeting between the foreign secretaries hasn’t been confirmed by either of the two countries, if it takes place it would be the first such meeting between India and Pakistan since National Security Adviser Ajit Doval met his Pakistan counterpart in December 2017 in Bangkok.

The “Kabul Process” meeting is an Afghan government-led initiative with stakeholders to find lasting peace in the war-torn country, including the contours of engaging with Taliban outfit. This is the second such meeting of the Kabul Process and is taking place amid stepped up prospects that the elusive TAPI gas pipeline connecting Turkmenis­tan and India through Afghan­istan and Pakistan could be taking shape.

Earlier, in the first stand-alone trip by India’s foreign secretary to China after last year’s tense standoff in Doklam, Mr Gokhale quietly paid a visit to Beijing last week.

Indian Express reported both sides agreeing on a roadmap for the coming year, including discussions on visits by respective foreign ministers and other officials.

It quoted sources as saying that the brief for Mr Gokhale, a fluent Mandarin speaker who had played a key role in the disengagement at Doklam, was to lay the ground for normalising India-China ties, which have been strained recently, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra

Modi’s likely visit to Qingdao in China in June this year for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisa­tion Summit.

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