NEW DELHI: ON A day when India was revelling in the celebrations of its 70th Independence Day, the Pakistan Foreign Secretary called in the Indian Envoy in Islamabad to invite New Delhi for talks on Jammu and Kashmir, “the main bone of contention” between the two countries.
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary on Monday handed over to Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale an invite to foreign secretary S Jaishanker.
“The Foreign Secretary called in the Indian High Commissioner this afternoon (August 15, 2016) and handed over a letter addressed to his Indian counterpart inviting him to visit Pakistan for talks on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute that has been the main bone of contention between India and Pakistan,” said the Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry in an official statement. “The letter highlights the international obligation of both the countries, India and Pakistan, to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions,” the statement added.
The two foreign secretaries had met in April to resolve the diplomatic deadlock and resume the bilateral dialogue process that has been in suspension since the attack on the Pathankot air base in January. However, since the start of unrest in the Kashmir Valley in the beginning of July, bilateral relations between India and Pakistan took a downward plunge as Islamabad sought to internationalise the issue.
On August 12, Advisor to Pakistan government on Foreign Affairs Sartaz Aziz had proposed talks with India. But Pakistan’s overtures have been closely followed by provocative statements from its officials. Abdul Basit, Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi, dedicated the country’s Independence Day on August 14 to Jammu and Kashmir.
India, in a terse response, asked Pakistan to talk about cross-border terrorism and parading of globally proscribed terrorists like Hafiz Saeed. The same day, it handed over a note verbale to the Indian High Commissioner proposing to send supplies to J&K, which was termed as “absurd” by India. Rejecting the offer, the External Affairs Ministry said: “India and others in the region have already received enough of Pakistan’s exports — terrorism, infiltrators, weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”