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Unfortunate that Pak called off NSA meet, says Rajnath Singh

india Updated: Aug 23, 2015 19:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

A combination photo of National Security Adviser Ajit Kumar Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz (File Photos)

Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday blamed Pakistan for backing out of the talks between the national security advisors (NSAs) of the two countries, saying they deviated from the Ufa agenda.

"Pakistan deviated from the agenda signed by the Prime Ministers of both the countries in Ufa, which said the talks would be focused on terror between the NSAs of both the countries," Singh told media.

"It is unfortunate that Pak has called off talks, India wanted to have talks," he added.

He pointed out that it was decided in Ufa that the dialogues will take place bilaterally and won?t involve a third party.

Planned talks between NSAs collapsed under the weight of intense diplomatic acrimony, with New Delhi insisting the meeting must focus on terrorism and Islamabad saying parleys with conditions would serve no purpose.

Both sides did not categorically state they were calling off the talks and blamed the collapse of the process on the other.

Read:India, Pakistan blame each other after NSA talks called off

The final break on Saturday was over two issues — the agenda of the talks to be held on Monday and the proposed meeting of Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz with the Hurriyat leadership — and it also marked the collapse of the framework agreed by the two prime ministers when they met in the Russian city of Ufa only last month.

Saturday saw four different acts play out — Aziz first made public his intentions through a press conference in Islamabad in the afternoon; external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj responded with clear redlines in New Delhi in the evening; a formal Pakistani statement late at night announced the talks “would not serve any purpose” if conducted on the basis of conditions laid down by Swaraj; and finally, India got back through the external affairs ministry spokesperson, calling the Pakistani decision “unfortunate” and emphasising there were no pre-conditions.

India-Pakistan ties have gone through much turbulence in the past year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited his counterpart Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in last year, but soon after, talks between the foreign secretaries were cancelled precisely over the issue of the Pakistani envoy meeting Hurriyat leaders.

At Ufa, India took the initiative to restart engagement. But with the talks now having collapsed before they even started, it throws open a big question about the future of the relationship; how meetings will be resumed given the incompatibility of the Indian redlines and Pakistani positions; and whether the other elements of the Ufa agreement — talks between the two Directors General of Military Operations and heads of the BSF and Pakistan Rangers — will be hold.

Read:Why Indo-Pak NSA talks collapsed

'Battle of egos, serious errors': Pak media on NSA talks collapse