India and Pakistan raised their preferred topics such as terror and the Kashmir issue without conceding much to the other in their first high-level contact since the Pathankot attack, the Pakistani media reported on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries on the sidelines of a Heart of Asia meeting in New Delhi made the front pages of all leading Pakistani dailies, which noted there was little movement towards resuming the bilateral dialogue process.
The influential Dawn daily headlined its report “Candidness marks Delhi talks” while the headline in The Nation read “Pakistan, India trade ‘concerns’ at Delhi meeting”.
The headlines in The News and Daily Times noted that Pakistan had taken up the alleged activities of India’s external intelligence agency RAW at the talks.
The purported activities of RAW have dominated the Pakistani media since Islamabad announced last month it had arrested Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav on charges of spying. India has said the former naval officer was “abducted” and taken to Pakistan.
“Talking past each other as they often do, the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan raised their respective preferred topics on Tuesday without apparently conceding much to the other,” the Dawn reported.
“If there was any agreement that could be construed as positive, it was not made public,” it said.
During the talks, India’s foreign secretary S Jaishankar told his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry that Islamabad should act against terror group operating from its soil instead of being in “denial” about terrorism. The Indian side also sought progress in the probe into the January 2 attack on Pathankot airbase and the prosecution of the alleged perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.
Pakistan, on the other hand, described Kashmir as the “core issue” and expressed its concerns about India’s probe into the 2007 bombing of the Samjhauta Express cross-border train that killed 42 Pakistani nationals.
“While Pakistan and India on Tuesday agreed that they would remain in touch to take the bilateral relationship forward, Islamabad called for an early commencement of the comprehensive dialogue and expressed the confidence that the goodwill generated by the recent high-level contacts will pave the way towards this end,” The News reported.
It noted that “India did not appear to be in a hurry to commence the dialogue process”.
The report in The Nation said the top diplomats of India and Pakistan met “for talks after a hiatus of several months and both raised issues of their own concern and made demands from the other side on contentious issues”.
“Though both sides called it a constructive session where they discussed ‘all issues’, the low-key meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two hostile neighbours did not produce any significant measure of forward movement,” it said.