Kathmandu/Pokhara, March 17 (IANS) India and Pakistan have agreed to conduct a joint investigation into the terror attack at the Pathankot air base. In this connection, a Pakistani probe team will arrive in India on March 27 and the probe will begin the next day, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday.
Sushma Swaraj said this after her meeting with Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs advisor to the Pakistan prime minister, on the sidelines of the 37th Saarc Ministerial Meeting held in Pokhara on Thursday.
Aziz said the Pakistani side will fully cooperate with India.
Terrorists believed to be from Pakistan attacked the Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Pathankot in Punjab on January 2, leaving seven security personnel dead. Security forces killed six terrorists.
India and Pakistan had earlier agreed to conduct a joint investigation but could not finalise the date for starting the probe.
After the talks, both Sushma Swaraj and Aziz held a press conference.
Sushma Swaraj said she received an invitation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi on behalf of his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sarif to attend the 19th Saarc Summit to be held in Islamabad on November 9-10.
Aziz, meanwhile, expressed the hope that Modi and Sharif will meet in Washington on March 31, on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit.
“I hope both prime ministers will meet on March 31,” he said, adding that he was not sure if there will be a structured dialogue between the two leaders at that time.
Sushma Swaraj said they also discussed about the Saarc process, and how to move ahead.
“The meeting took place in a very cordial manner…,” she said.
“We discussed how to achieve success in the upcoming Saarc summit,” added Aziz.
Pakistan, meanwhile, refused to become a member of the India-initiated Satellite for Saarc programme.
“We have our own satellite programme and we do not need help of India in this respect,” a Pakistani official said.
Other Saarc member states have agreed to join the project.
Nepal’s deputy prime minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Thapa said this time the Saarc meeting “faced no shadow of any country despite rivalry between the two South Asian nuclear giants”.
“India and Pakistan are natural and important members of Saarc but relations of India and Pakistan did not reflect throughout the meeting,” he said.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)