Islamabad: With political turmoil and deepening economic conditions, Pakistan is in dire need to mend its strained ties with its neighbour India.

Pakistan and India have been engaged in "back channel" talks in order to break the stalemate in the relationship between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, according to official sources familiar with the development, reported The Express Tribune.

The relationship between the two countries worsened in 2019 after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Since then the diplomatic ties have been downgraded, bilateral trade suspended and there has been no structured dialogue.

However, the two countries were talking to each other, albeit quietly even before the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took charge, reported The Express Tribune.

The back-channel talks led to the renewal of the ceasefire understanding in February 2021 and since then the truce is holding, with no major incident of ceasefire violation.

Since the new government came to power in Islamabad, there has been a renewed push by the two sides to find some way out. "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," an official source said.

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, reported The Express Tribune.

Chances of an immediate breakthrough are slim given the political uncertainty in Pakistan and tough preconditions attached by both sides for any resumption of dialogue.

India, the sources said, is inclined to the re-engagement but reluctant to offer something that would help Pakistan resume the dialogue, reported The Express Tribune.

"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 United States and the UK, were also pushing for defusing tension and opening some formal channels of communication between the two South Asian neighbours.

Further, New Delhi is willing to meet the wheat shortage in Pakistan by entering into a government-to-government agreement. Pakistan is currently talking to Russia to import at least 2 million tons of wheat. The commodity price in the global market has shot due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

India is one of the top 3 wheat producers in the world and Pakistan this season plans to import 4 million metric tons of wheat to meet its domestic shortage. Pakistan could import wheat from India at a much lower cost, given the less transportation and other logistic charges.