New Delhi says, Islamabad should discuss “cross-border terror” and not the “Kashmir dispute”.
India on Wednesday confirmed that Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar is “willing” to travel to Pakistan for discussing “cross border terrorism in J&K” and rejected Pakistan’s proposal to discuss “Jammu and Kashmir dispute” saying that Islamabad has no “locus standi” on the Province. India’s response came two days after Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry summoned India’s High Commissioner and handed over a formal invitation, to his Indian counterpart for talks.
“Since aspects related to cross-border terrorism are central to the current situation in J&K, we have proposed that discussions between the Foreign Secretaries be focussed on them. We have also conveyed that GOI rejects in their entirety the self-serving allegations regarding the situation in J&K, which is an integral part of India where Pakistan has no locus standi,” sources told the media.
Pakistan offered the Foreign Secretary-level talks with India on August 15, 2016, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicated a major shift in India’s Pakistan policy by indicating at the situation in Balochistan during his Independence Day speech. The offer was the second peace overture from Pakistan since August 12 when it extended a mechanism on “non-testing of nuclear weapons”.
India had last week reacted to a statement by Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, saying that it would talk on “contemporary and relevant” issues and demanded an “end to all cross border terrorism, infiltration and support and instigation to terrorism and violence against India”.
India and Pakistan started a process of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad on December 8, 2015. CBD however has so far failed to take off due to the terror strike on Pathankot airbase on January 2, 2016 and the subsequent disturbances in Kashmir. It is not clear as of now if the talks under discussion since August 15 would form part of the CBD.
Keywords: Pakistan’s Kashmir talks offer, Pakistan Foreign Office
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