Reacting to a US-Pakistan joint statement on terrorism, the ministry of external affairs said on Friday it was a positive sign that the Haqqani network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba were finally mentioned, but slammed Nawaz Sharif’s charges that India had backed from a constructive dialogue with the hostile neighbour.
“India has always desired resolution of all issues with Pakistan bilaterally through dialogue and peaceful means… Pakistan has chosen to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy,” MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. “We remain open to NSA level talks (with Pakistan) as decided in Ufa,” he said.
The August 24 talks between Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval were cancelled after Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit invited Kashmiri separatists to a tea reception. This was the second time the India-Pakistan dialogue process was derailed since Sharif attended Modi’s swearing-in-ceremony in May 2014.
Modi and Sharif had a breakthrough meeting in the Russian city of Ufa three months before the incident when they decided on a way forward, but differing interpretations of the joint statement soon led to the NSA-level talks being cancelled.
On Friday, Swarup expressed contentment that the Haqqani network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba had been specifically mention for the first time in a joint statement by the US and Pakistan, as India had been firm with their stand that both these terror organisations have been actively operating out of Pakistan.
“You have also read the assurance about these two organisations and terrorism offered by Pakistan. We hope that they deliver on these commitments. In September 2014 and January 2015, the US and India had agreed to joint and concerted efforts to disrupt entities such as the LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed, D-Company and the Haqqani network,” Swarup added.
The MEA spokesperson also said that through this joint statement Pakistan should get the message that the international community is deeply concerned about their “support and sponsorship of terrorism”.
However, on the matter of US support for funding for the Diamer Bhasha and Dasu dams located in Pakistan occupied Kashimir, Swarup asserted that India has always opposed the construction of the hydro-electric projects in the disputed region of Kashmir that includes PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
“We oppose any developmental projects in an area that belongs to India but is forcibly under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. We have made this clear to all countries,” Swarup said.
Talking about Pakistan Foreign Secretary recent statement that their nuclear program is mainly a deterrent against India’s conventional and nuclear military capability, Swarup said it was definitely a matter of concern given Islamabad’s history of “clandestine and illegal activity” on the nuclear side and such an implication will have to be carefully monitored.