India on Friday escaped from the route of negotiations table by cancelling National Security Adviser (NSA)-level talks with Pakistan after Islamabad turned down an Indian advice for declining a meeting of Hurriyat leaders, local media reported Friday.
Addressing a press conference, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarap said that India has always maintained there are only two stakeholders in our relationship not three, hinting at Pakistan’s engagement with the leadership of freedom struggle.
“In Ufa both PMs agreed on a meeting of NSAs to discuss all issues connected to terrorism. Instead we saw a sharp increase in unprovoked firing from Pakistan side and some serious cross border terror incidents. India remains committed to discussing issues with Pakistan bilaterally and peacefully,” Swaroop was quoted as saying by ANI.
He further added, “the statement by Pakistan government on NSA level talks with India has not come as a surprise for us. Pakistan’s position indicates reluctance to go forward.”
According to Indian Media, Indian government called off dialogues because Pakistan had rejected its demand to not meet Hurriyat Conference leaders during National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz’s visit to India.-NNI
BR Stff Reporter from Islamabad adds: “We are deeply disappointed at the statement of the Spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, putting forth pre-conditions for official talks to take place with Pakistan at the level of the National Security Advisors,” said a Pakistani Foreign Office statement.
These talks, which were scheduled to take place on 23 and 24 August, flowed from a decision taken by the two Prime Ministers on 10 July, in the Russian city of Ufa, it added.
However, it was not confirmed whether or not the NSAs-level talks will be held. When contacted the Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah refused to confirm or deny the cancellation of the dialogue, saying the official stance has been issued by the Foreign Office in the statement.
Asked whether New Delhi officially conveyed about cancellation of the talks, he expressed his inability to add anything further, saying the official statement is final. According to the statement, this is the second time that India has chosen to go back on a decision mutually agreed upon by the two Prime Ministers, to engage in a comprehensive dialogue, by coming up with frivolous pretexts.
“Tension between the two countries had increased alarmingly as a result of frequent violations on the Line of Control and Working Boundary, in the past few months. The need of the hour was for the two countries to engage in sincere and serious dialogue to immediately reduce tensions and to undertake the task of normalisation of relations, with sincerity and seriousness,” the statement said.
It stated that the Pakistan High Commissioner’s invitation to the Kashmiri Hurriyat leadership to a reception in honour of the Adviser on 23 August was very much in keeping with the practice and tradition of the past many years. “Pakistan sees no reason to depart from this established practice.
After all, the Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders are genuine stakeholders in efforts to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir dispute,” it said.
“For India to refuse to engage in talks with Pakistan on this pretext, is a repeat of what it did when it cancelled the Foreign Secretary level talks that were scheduled to be held on 25 August last year, pursuant to the meeting between the two Prime Ministers in Delhi in May 2014,” it added.
For the NSA talks in Delhi, the Foreign Office said that Pakistan had proposed a comprehensive agenda, consistent with the decisions taken by the two Prime Ministers in Ufa, which included discussion on all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, as well as terrorism related matters, and other issues such as religious tourism, release of fishermen and peace and tranquility on the LoC.
However, regrettably, the Indian side’s desire to restrict the agenda to terrorism related issues only amounts to a negation of the decisions taken by the two Prime Ministers, it added.
The statement further said that it is not Pakistan that has placed any condition for the talks. In fact, Pakistan has always demonstrated its belief in the dialogue process and is prepared to engage in meaningful talks with India, to resolve all outstanding issues that have bedevilled relations between the two countries, for the past many decades, it added.
“Pakistan does not disregard agreements or understandings. It is the Indian side which has reneged on commitments agreed upon between the two Heads of Government in the past year,” it said.
The statement further said that Pakistan wishes to reiterate its abiding commitment to promoting a relationship of cordiality and co-operation with all its neighbours, including India, in pursuance of the Prime Minister’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood.