India, Pakistan held NSA-level talks, cross-border terrorism was on agenda, confirms MEA
Commenting on the NSA meeting, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said talks and terror cannot go together but talks on terror can go ahead.india Updated: Jan 11, 2018 19:08 IST
National security advisors of India and Pakistan held bilateral talks last month that focused on cross-border terrorism, a foreign ministry spokesperson in New Delhi confirmed Thursday.
The statement by India comes days after media reports that NSAs Ajit Doval and retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua held a “secret” meeting in Thailand on December 27.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Doval and Janjua also discussed ways to ensure the elimination of terrorism from the region in their “operational-level talks”.
“India and Pakistan have a dialogue process and we have said terror and talks cannot go togther. However, there are other dialogue mechanisms like at the DGMO level or between the BSF and Pakistan Rangers.
“Similarly, the NSA-level engagement is part of operational-level talks. We have said terror and talks cannot go together, but talks on terror can definitely go ahead,” Kumar said.
Bilateral talks between the nuclear-armed neighbours are on the back-burner, with tensions running high over territorial issues and terrorism.
India accuses Pakistan-based groups of orchestrating several terror attacks on its soil, especially in the conflict-ridden Kashmir valley. Repeated ceasefire violations and casualties on both sides have added to the tension.
Ties hit another roadblock when New Delhi alleged that Islamabad disregarded cultural and religious sensibilities of family members of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was captured in March 2016 and has been sentenced to death by a military court.
While Pakistan termed its decision to allow Jadhav’s family to travel to Islamabad to meet him in December as a humanitarian gesture, India said the neighbour violated mutual understandings, asserting that the Indian national appeared coerced and under considerable stress during the tightly controlled interaction.
New Delhi says Jadhav was kidnapped in Iran where he had legitimate business interests, and brought to Pakistan. To save Jadhav, India moved the International Court of Justice, which ordered Pakistan in May to stay his execution.