Defence minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday Pakistan had to make a conscious choice whether it wanted to talk to the government of India or to those who want to break India, effectively shutting the door on any immediate resumption of bilateral talks between the nuclear-armed nations.
India called off planned talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries in August after the Pakistani envoy met Kashmiri separatists in New Delhi, saying it was an “unacceptable” attempt to “interfere” in India’s domestic affairs.
"I think a new red line has to be drawn in Pakistan to reconsider this question that who they want to speak to? Do they want to speak to the government of India or they want to speak to those who want to break India. So, unless Pakistan makes the conscious choice, a dialogue with Pakistan will not be possible," Jaitley told the World Economic Fourm.
"We create the environment, we fix up a dialogue at the level of foreign secretaries, our foreign secretary is to visit Pakistan (and) literally a few hours before that they invite the separatists for a dialogue to their high commission in New Delhi,” said Jaitley.
Watch:Pakistan must decide whether it wants to speak to India or separtists: Arun Jaitley
The Narendra Modi government started on an upbeat note by calling Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony in May along with leaders of all SAARC countries. But relations between the two countries have slid since then with the neighbours recently locked in their worst border conflict in a decade.
Referring to ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the international border and line of control, the defence minister said the consequences of its “misadventure” like firing on the civilian population “would be an unaffordable cost for Pakistan”.
Jaitley said India has given three messages to Pakistan. “The first is that we want to talk. So we invited them. The second is we send a foreign secretary there. But they must decide whether they are ready to speak to our foreign secretary or to speak to those who want to break India. The third is that this kind of a situation in international border cannot go on.”
"That's not an environment for a dialogue ... India would like to normalise the relationship. But whether Pakistan wants to normalise the relationship depends on Pakistan," he said.