Millennium Post

Pakistan calls Jaishankar’s visit an ‘ice breaker’

Pakistan calls Jaishankar’s visit an ‘ice breaker’
India had cancelled talks with Pakistan in August last year because the Pakistani high commissioner met Kashmiri separatist leaders in New Delhi.

Jaishankar held talks with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry in Islamabad on March 3 and both sides agreed to narrow down differences.

Jaishankar also called on Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif and delivered a message from the latter's Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam dispelled the impression in a section of the media that the visit of the Indian official has failed.

“I would not like to characterise it as failure. We said that it is a visit that is taking place in lieu of the August visit as an ice breaker. It is a process,” Xinhua news agency quoted the spokesperson as saying in her weekly briefing.

She said the meeting of the top diplomats was held in a constructive and positive atmosphere but she avoided offering more comments about the decisions taken there.

China welcomes foreign secretary’s Pak visit

China on Thursday said improving ties between India and Pakistan was of paramount importance to peace and development in the region and offered its support to resolve bilateral disputes through peaceful dialogue.

Welcoming Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar's recent visit to Islamabad, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the visit was a positive sign for improving relations. “Both India and Pakistan are significant countries in South Asia,” Hua said. “We welcome the positive signs showing the improvement of bilateral relations which we believe is of paramount importance to peace, stability and development of this region,” Hua told a media briefing here.

Islamabad was Jaishankar's third stop during his “SAARC yatra” after Thimphu and Dhaka. He also visited Kabul to round-off the first leg of the yatra aimed at firming up India's ties with members of the grouping while reviewing regional and bilateral cooperation. “The Chinese side will support the two sides in properly resolving relevant disputes through peaceful dialogue and improving bilateral relations as we always do,” she said in response to question.

China is an observer in SAARC, but has been seeking entry into the regional grouping with support primarily from Pakistan.

China hikes defence budget by 10.1 per cent
Unfazed by its slowing economy, China Thursday hiked the defence budget by 10.1 per cent this year to $ 144.2 billion aimed at modernising the world's largest military, almost $ 104 billion more than India's defence expenditure of $ 40 billion. The increase of the defence spending was announced by Premier Li Keqiang in his work report submitted to the China's legislature the National People's Congress (NPC) which began its 10-day annual session here Thursday.

The hike - a double-digit annual increase for the fifth year in a row - marks an increase of about $ 12 billion over last year's budget of $ 132 billion, making China the second largest military spender after the US whose national defence budget accounted to about $ 600.4 billion in 2013. Chinese official media, however, said the hike is the lowest in five years.


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