ISLAMABAD - The top diplomats of Pakistan and India Tuesday met and discussed a host of issues of bilateral interest, including Kashmir dispute and regional cooperation through Saarc, but failed to agree on a timeframe for resumption of dialogue process between the South Asian nuclear neighbours.

“We would like to move as and when both the sides are ready - by remaining in contact we can determine when and how the next steps are to be taken,” Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry told a media briefing shortly after talks with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. “My discussion with the Indian foreign secretary covered bilateral and regional issues of mutual concern and common interest, including Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he said.

He said he held detailed discussions with Jaishankar in a cordial and constructive atmosphere in line with the vision of the prime minister of Pakistan, which envisaged a peaceful and stable South Asia.

Aizaz said he told the Indian side that concerted efforts were needed to resolve the Kashmir dispute while issues of Siachen, Sir Creek and water should also be addressed through dialogue.

The foreign secretary said he underlined the need to work together to address each other’s concerns in the areas of divergence. “Importance of maintaining dialogue was also stressed,” he said, adding the situation on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary was also raised at the meeting.

The Pakistan side reaffirmed the commitment to 2003 ceasefire and optimal use of existing mechanisms of maintaining the ceasefire.

The foreign secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong commitment to eradication of terrorism. He said Pakistan was desirous of seeking cooperation from its neighbours, in particular. He said Pakistan also raised the issue of Samjhota Express and Indian involvement in Fata and Balochistan.

On bilateral trade and economic relations, the foreign secretary said Pakistan affirmed its commitment to enhancing mutually beneficial trade and economic relations.

Pakistan suggested the two sides should encourage people-to-people contacts, promote cooperation in various fields, including tourism, and discourage hostile propaganda against each other. He said promoting media and sport contacts also came under discussion.

Aizaz conveyed to the Indian foreign secretary that Pakistan attached high importance to Saarc, which was an important vehicle for promoting regional cooperation. The two sides agreed on the need to work together to develop potential of regional cooperation. The Indian foreign secretary was informed that Pakistan was preparing to host the 19th Saarc Summit and looking forward to welcoming its leaders.

Answering a question about any specific evidence shared at the meeting regarding alleged Indian involvement in Pakistan’s affairs, he said it was not the time to get into details. “It was decided to discuss these issues and then determine how to proceed further,” he said.

Asked whether Kashmiri leaders were taken into confidence over the meeting with the Indian foreign secretary, he said, “We do meet Kashmiri leaders regularly.”

The Indian foreign secretary also called on Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi.

Aizaz said during the courtesy call that the Indian Foreign Secretary had on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he handed over a letter of Prime Minister Modi.

Earlier, in his brief chat with journalists, Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Pakistan and India had agreed to work together, find common grounds and narrow differences.

He said the talks were held in a very constructive and positive atmosphere. Both the sides engaged on each other’s concerns and interests.

He said Pakistan would assume the next chairmanship of Saarc and his country wanted to work with it to achieve the true potential of the Saarc.

The Indian foreign secretary said both Pakistan and India had agreed that ensuring peace and tranquility on the border was vital. He said his country wanted to forge cooperative relations with all the neighbouring countries.

Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also discussed bilateral relations and security situation in the region.

The Indian high commissioner to Pakistan, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry were also present on the occasion.

The Indian foreign secretary arrived in Islamabad Tuesday on a two-day visit, following the telephone call by Prime Minister Modi to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on February 13.

Agencies add: Foreign secretary S Jaishankar, who arrived in Islamabad as part of his “Saarc Yatra”, raised India’s concerns about cross-border terror during his talks with his Pakistani counterpart.

The contents of the Indian PM Narendra Modi’s letter Jaishankar delivered to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could not immediately be known and neither side provided a glimpse during the media briefings.

Foreign office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said both sides raised their concerns and described the visit as “an ice-breaking development.”

Jaishankar made it clear that he was in Islamabad primarily as part of Prime Minister Modi’s initiative of a “Saarc Yatra” and to convey the Indian leadership’s determination to forge cooperative relations with all neighbours. He added: “Naturally, my visit provided an opportunity to discuss our bilateral relations.”

Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said Pakistan was firmly committed to the 2003 ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir and believes existing mechanisms should be optimally used to see that the truce is observed. He added that Pakistan is also committed to eradicating terrorism.

During the talks, Pakistan suggested steps to boost people-to-people contacts and to promote religious tourism and sports and media contacts.

Analysts said the visit would help warm ties. “I think this will lower tensions and create (an) environment for the two countries to engage with each other on the issues of concern,” Talat Masood, an analyst and retired Pakistani army general, told AFP.

“Real progress can be achieved if the two countries try to cooperate with each other instead of undermining each other.”

Jaishankar’s trip is part of a tour that also includes Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. But Pakistan-India issues, which tend to dominate regional politics, were clearly prominent on the agenda.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise move to invite Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony last May spurred hopes of a resumption of long-stalled talks.

But India abruptly cancelled a planned round of dialogue between foreign secretaries in Delhi in August after Pakistan’s high commissioner met Kashmiri separatists.

The meeting with Kashmiri leaders infuriated New Delhi but Pakistan defended it as a “longstanding practice”.

Both Modi and Sharif attended a summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation bloc in November but did not hold one-on-one talks.

The cricket World Cup brought an unexpected opportunity for a thaw, with Modi phoning Sharif last month to wish his team well in the tournament.