Pakistan said on Saturday it is yet to accept dates suggested by India for a meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSAs) even as it indicated that it did not want the discussions to be restricted to terrorism-related issues.
“We will send them our agenda along with the confirmation of the dates so that there is no misunderstanding about what has to be discussed,” said Sartaj Aziz, the advisor to the Prime Minister on foreign affairs and national security.
“We have not confirmed (the dates for the meeting) as yet because we are working on the agenda we intend to propose,” Aziz told reporters after attending a ceremony to launch a book.
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He did not give details on what Pakistan wants to be included in the agenda for the meeting.
“We have concerns about Indian interference,” Aziz said while responding to a question.
Reports have said India has proposed August 23 and 24 as dates for the meeting in New Delhi between Aziz and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.
Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif had agreed during a meeting in the Russian city of Ufa last month that the National Security Advisors would meet to discuss all issues related to terrorism.
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Reports have suggested that Pakistan wants India’s alleged involvement in fomenting unrest in Balochistan, the financial hub of Karachi and the tribal areas to be part of the talks.
The civilian government has become vocal about this issue since the powerful army’s corps commanders accused India of “whipping up terrorism” in Pakistan in May.
India, on the other hand, is expected to raise a spike in terrorist violence blamed on Pakistan-based terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, including terror attacks in Gurdaspur and Udhampur. Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Naveed was captured after this week’s attack in Udhampur that killed two BSF troopers. Aziz contended that India tends to blame Pakistan for every terrorist incident “even before investigation could take place”.
He said: “The purpose of this visit is that whatsoever reservations and allegations we have, they need to be discussed at the table and not through the media.”
The Indian government, however, said the national security advisers of India and Pakistan would meet as scheduled.
“I don’t know what’s going on in the mind of the Pakistan establishment. Certainly, the Government of India’s position is very clear that NSA-level talks would continue,” said commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman — the first statement from a Modi government minister on the proposed talks that appeared to be in trouble following the terror strike in Punjab and Jammu.
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