India extends diplomatic hand to Pakistan, invites its commerce minister for key WTO talks in March
In a significant diplomatic development, India has invited Pakistan's commerce minister Pervaiz Malik to participate in an informal WTO meeting in New Delhi
In a significant diplomatic development, India has invited Pakistan's commerce minister Pervaiz Malik to participate in the informal WTO ministerial meeting in New Delhi on 19-20 March. Malik has reportedly confirmed his attendance for the event.
According to a report in The Indian Express, while Malik's meeting with Union commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu is confirmed, it is still not clear if he will also meet external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The invitation to Malik comes after last December's secret back-channel negotiations between the two national security advisors, Ajit Doval and Nasser Janjua, the report said.
The meeting also holds significance as the decision to participate in the SAARC summit, to be held in Pakistan, comes up again for consideration by the Centre.
In 2016, Modi had decided not to attend the 19th SAARC Summit to be held in Islamabad. India's decision led to the collapse of the entire summit as leaders of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan also pulled out.
Quoting diplomatic sources, the report also said that the two countries will undertake an exchange of prisoners starting with the release of the most vulnerable individuals such as mentally challenged prisoners, children, and women.
The announcement comes shortly after global money-laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed Pakistan back on its terrorist financing watchlist, in a likely blow to both Pakistan’s economy and its strained relations with the United States.
Pakistani officials and analysts fear being on the FATF watchlist could endanger its handful of remaining banking links to the outside world, causing real financial pain to the economy just as a general election looms in the summer.
"It is a need of the hour that the automobile industry's innovation for greener alternatives attains a new momentum, to ensure the protection and conservation of the environment, as well as help in making India self-reliant," PM Narendra Modi said.
The prime minister turned 72 on Saturday and marked his birthday by addressing four events covering fields as diverse as wildlife and the launch of logistics policy, as greetings poured in from leaders and other prominent personalities
Along with other commitments this year, PM Modi is slated to launch the National Logistics Policy and welcome eight cheetahs that are being brought from Namibia