India is seriously considering reviving and upgrading the anti-terror mechanism with Pakistan during the forthcoming meeting between national security adviser Ajit Doval and his Pakistan counterpart Sartaj Aziz, but warned against involving any third party or the Kashmir issue.
Kashmiri separatists are invited to meet Aziz who is in New Delhi on August 23 and 24.
While Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Shabir Shah are expected to attend a reception hosted by the Pakistan high commission in honour of Aziz on August 23, Syed Ali Shah Geelani is set to meet him the next day. “There is no third party role in India-Pakistan bilateral issues,” sources said.
South Block sources said that the NSA level meeting is not about “talks and terror”, but moving forward on “all issues related to terrorism”, as agreed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in the Russian city of Ufa in July.
India and Pakistan had a joint anti-terror mechanism at the additional secretary level, which was set up after the meeting between former PM Manmohan Singh and then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Havana in 2006, which got defunct.
National security adviser Ajit Doval on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting of senior officials to firm up issues on terrorism that need to be taken up during the NSA-level talks.
A home ministry meeting, attended by Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria, public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and other police officials, discussed issues to be taken on the 26/11 case.
“We will discuss all issues related to terrorism, including the 26/11 attack, recent incidents in Gurdaspur and Udhampur, and all other incidents that have Pakistan imprints,” the sources said.
On the issue of Aziz meeting Hurriyat, the officials said: “We reiterate that India-Pakistan issues are bilateral in nature and there is no role for any third party. Any deviation from this would mean the onus for continuing with the talks is with Pakistan. We are keen on seeing progress on the issue of terrorism.”
The sources reiterated that the “NSAs are meeting only on terrorism and not to discuss any issue, including Kashmir”. India had called off the foreign secretary level talks last year after Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit met Hurriyat leaders before talks. The sources said Pakistan “is free to bring up any issues related to terrorism.