India rejects Pak’s proposal for Foreign Secretary-level talks on Kashmir

(From PTI)

India on Wednesday rejected Pakistan’s proposal to hold Foreign Secretary-level talks on Kashmir and asserted that it would like to discuss aspects related to cross-border terrorism which are central to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistani rangers and Indian Border Security Force officers lower their national flags during a daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint check-post at Wagah

Pakistani rangers (wearing black uniforms) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) officers lower their national flags during a daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint check-post at Wagah border, near Lahore November 3, 2014. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/Files

Responding to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry’s invitation, India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar expressed his willingness to travel to Islamabad but maintained Pakistan has no locus standi in addressing any aspect of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is an internal matter of India, except to put an end to cross-border terrorism and infiltration.

The response was handed over to Pakistan by Indian High Commissioner to Islamabad Gautam Bambawale.

“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 focused on them.

“We have also conveyed that Government of India 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,” the sources added.

Pakistan on Monday had invited India for talks on Kashmir, saying it is the “international obligation” of both the countries to resolve the issue.

The invitation was extended amid tension in bilateral ties due to the war of words between the two nations over the issue.

Last week, while reacting to a statement by Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz regarding the invitation, India had made it clear that it would talk on “contemporary and relevant” issues in Indo-Pak relations and at this time it included stoppage of Pak-supported cross-border terrorism.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said: “India would welcome a dialogue on contemporary and relevant issues in India-Pakistan relations. 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 recognized terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, and sincere follow up on the Mumbai attack trial and the Pathankot attack investigation in Pakistan.”

India and Pakistan have been engaged in a war of words over the statements by Islamabad on the situation in Kashmir which is witnessing unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last month.

Wani was described as a martyr by Pakistan, which has also tried to internationalize the Kashmir issue while India has been maintaining that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the Valley is the root cause of the turbulence.



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