India, Pak engage in ‘back channel’ talks: Report

New Delhi: India and Pakistan have been engaged in “back channel” talks in order to break the stalemate in the relationship between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, a media report said citing official sources.

Since the new government came to power in Islamabad, there has been a renewed push by the two sides to find some way out, the Express Tribune reported.

“Call it back channels, Track-II or behind-the-scene talks, I can only confirm that relevant people in both countries are in touch with each other,” The Express Tribune report quoted official sources as saying.

The source, however, said that he did not have the exact details of those contacts, adding that it was precisely the purpose of “back channels” to keep the discussions under wraps until something tangible had been decided.

“Our policy is clear. We want to engage with everyone, including India,” said a senior member of the coalition government, while requesting anonymity.

The sources said that the Western powers, including the US and the UK, were also pushing for defusing tension and opening some formal channels of communications between the two South Asian neighbors, The Express Tribune reported.

India is said to be eager to first resume trade and then other ties with Pakistan. New Delhi is willing to meet the wheat shortage in Pakistan by entering into a government-to-government agreement, the report said.

India-Pak water talks end on a positive note

India and Pakistan reiterated their commitment to resolve issues related to the sharing of waters of cross-border rivers through discussions under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 against the backdrop of strained ties between the two sides.

The 118th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), comprising the Indus commissioners of India and Pakistan, was held in New Delhi during May 30-31. The Indus Waters Treaty, which was brokered by the World Bank, is one of the most durable agreements between the two countries and has weathered several ups and downs in bilateral relations.

The PIC “appreciated the commitment of the two sides to interact frequently and resolve issues through bilateral discussions under the Indus Water Treaty”, according to the external affairs ministry. It said the meeting was held in a “cordial manner”.

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