India-Pakistan to hold talks in August

NEW DELHI (AA) – The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan will hold formal talks on August 25 in Islamabad in continuation of the recent thaw between the two nuclear arch-rivals, India’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

The August meeting will be the first formal talks between the two countries since January 2013 after the killing of two Indian army personnel allegedly by Pakistani forces at the Line of Control (LoC).

One of the army officers was reportedly beheaded, forcing India to suspend the peace talks.

The spokesperson of the Indian Foreign Ministry, Suyed Abkbaruddin tweeted on Wednesday that Foreign Secretary Singh had warned his Pakistani counterpart, “incidents of this nature will impede positive work that our leaders wish to undertake.”

The revival of the stalled peace talks comes only a day after the reported killing of an Indian army officer in an “unprovoked attack” from across the border.

India’s Defense Minister Arun Jaitley informed the Indian parliament on Tuesday that Pakistan had violated ceasefires 19 times since the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government came to power in May 2014. Jaitley said the Indian army has given a “befitting reply” to Pakistan’s repeated attempts of ceasefire violation.

In a separate development, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman informed parliament in a written reply on Wednesday that Pakistan is yet to grant India the status of Most Favored Nation (MFN) which ensures a level of treatment accorded by one state to another in international trade. The MFN status is likely to boost trade relations between the two countries.

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