NEW DELHI: Responding to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry’s invitation to come for talks on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Wednesday conveyed his willingness to visit Islamabad for holding talks on “cross-border terrorism” rather than on Kashmir.
“Since aspects related to cross-border terrorism are central to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, we have proposed that discussions between the foreign secretaries be focussed on them,” said sources within the government.
They further said, “We have also conveyed that the Government of India rejects in their entirety the self-serving allegations regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India, where Pakistan has no locus standi.”
On August 15, Chaudhry called in Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale and handed over a letter addressed to his Indian counterpart, inviting him to visit Pakistan for talks on Jammu and Kashmir, which he termed “the main bone of contention between India and Pakistan”.
Pakistan’s invitation came days after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz’s statement that Pakistan is planning to invite India for a dialogue on the Kashmir issue.
Briefing reporters on the Envoys Conference recently, Aziz said, “As for India, the Envoys Conference noted that India’s policy of not engaging in a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan was not conducive for peace in South Asia. In this regard, Pakistan should invite India for a dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir. Our Foreign Secretary would formally be writing to his counterpart in this regard.”
However, India has already rejected Pakistan’s invitation to hold talks on Jammu and Kashmir.
Responding to Aziz’s statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Saturday said India would welcome a dialogue on contemporary and relevant issues in India-Pakistan relations.
Elaborating on contemporary and relevant issues, MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted, “At this time, they include a stoppage of Pakistani support for cross-border terrorism, infiltration of terrorists like Bahadur Ali, incitement to violence and terrorism across the border, parading of internationally recognised terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, and sincere follow up on the Mumbai attack trial and the Pathankot attack investigation in Pakistan.”