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India willing to talk to Pakistan, but only on terrorism-related issues

Accepting Chaudhry's invite, Jaishankar in his reply stated that the talks should focus on five aspects of terrorism

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Flags of India and Pakistan Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi, August 19, 2016: A top official said on Thursday that the Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar has accepted his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry’s invitation for talks but has made clear that the agenda should concern only issues related to terrorism.

Accepting Chaudhry’s invite, Jaishankar in his reply stated that the talks should focus on five aspects of terrorism.

“In a letter dated August 16, Foreign Secretary has first of all underlined that Pakistan’s self-serving allegations made in their communication are rejected in their entirety by the government of India,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing here.

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“Pakistan has no locus standi in respect of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of our nation,” he said.

According to Swarup, Jaishankar in his letter “conveyed that he accepts his counterpart’s invitation to visit Islamabad” but made it clear that the discussions should focus first on the more pressing aspects of the Jammu & Kashmir situation.

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Vikas Swarup. Image source: Twitter

These include cessation of cross-border terrorism by Pakistan aimed at Jammu and Kashmir; ending incitement to violence and terrorism from Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir; detaining and prosecuting internationally recognised Pakistani terrorist leaders who have been publicly active recently in exhorting and supporting such violence in that state; closing down of Pakistani terrorist camps where terrorists such as Bahadur Ali, recently arrested in Jammu and Kashmir, continue to be trained; denying safe haven, shelters and support to terrorists in Pakistan who have escaped Indian law.

“Foreign Secretary also said that he looks forward to discussing with his counterpart the earliest possible vacation of Pakistan’s illegal occupation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the spokesperson said.

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He stated that Jaishankar “also underlined the importance of bringing to justice all those guilty in Pakistan for the Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008 and Pathankot airbase attack (in January this year)”.

“He said that his visit should provide the opportunity to receive a briefing from Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary on progress in this regard,” Swarup said.

He stated that the world was aware that Pakistan has a long history of violence and terrorism against India, as also in the broader region.

“The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has been its particular target. This record began with the government of Pakistan sending armed raiders into Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 and was repeated in 1965,” Swarup said.

“More than three decades later, displaying a similar attitude, military personnel were infiltrated across the Line of Control in Kargil in 1999.”

This approach to India, Swarup said, was reflected in support for terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir that continued to the present day.

“These acts were initially denied by the Government of Pakistan and attributed to local population, only to be admitted later by Pakistan’s leaders who directed and organised such cross-border attacks on India, and assaults on the local people,” he said.

The spokesperson said that the Pakistan government was aware that the framework for interactions between and Pakistan was stipulated by the Simla Agreement of July 1972, wherein then Pakistani President Z.A. Bhutto agreed that the two countries should resolve to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations, as also the Lahore Declaration of February 1999 wherein Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated Pakistan’s determination to implement the Simla Agreement in letter and spirit.

“They are also based on the assurance given by (then Pakistani)) President (Pervez) Musharraf in January 2004 that he will not permit any territory under Pakistan’s control to be used to support terrorism in any manner” Swarup added. (IANS)

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