NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Saturday called off the NSA-level talks, stating that there could be no purpose in having such a discussion based on India’s terms.
Five hours after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj completed her press meet, the Pakistan foreign office spokesperson issued a statement after “carefully” analysing her remarks. “We’ve come to the conclusion that the proposed NSA-level talks would not serve any purpose, if conducted on the basis of the two conditions laid down by the minister,” said Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah.
It means Pakistan PM’s advisor on national security and foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz will not be arriving in Delhi on Sunday to hold talks with NSA Ajit Doval. It would have been the first ministerial meeting since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over last year.
The Pakistan foreign office noted that Swaraj had said there was a need to discuss all outstanding issues through a sustained dialogue process which began in 1998, as the Composite Dialogue had became the Resumed Dialogue in 2011. But the spokesperson criticised that she then “unilaterally restricts the agenda to only two items: creating an atmosphere free from terrorism and tranquility on the LoC”. The spokesperson added that India could stage fake terror incidents to forever delay the start of the Resumed Dialogue.
“Considering that many terror ‘incidents’ blamed initially by India on Pakistan eventually turned out to be fake, it is not improbable that India can delay the Resumed Dialogue indefinitely by concocting one or two incidents and keeping the LoC hot,” said Khalilullah.
If the NSA talks agenda was restricted to only terror, it would lead to further bad blood, instead of reducing tension.
However, after Pakistan called off the talks, it was India’s turn to have the last word.
“Pakistan’s decision is unfortunate. India did not set any preconditions. We only reiterated that Pakistan respect the spirit of the Simla and Ufa agreements to which it was already committed,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
We only harped on Simla, UFA pacts
Following Pakistan’s move to call off the NSA-level talks, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said it was unfortunate and that India had only wanted Islamabad to respect the spirit of the Simla and Ufa agreements.