Asserting that it wishes to have good neighbourly relations with Pakistan, the government today said it remained in touch with it through bilateral diplomatic channels, including addressing all urgent humanitarian needs even after cancellation of Foreign Secretary-level talks as agreed in December 2015.
In a written reply to Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the talks envisaged between Indo-Pak foreign secretaries to decide the modalities of the Composite Bilateral Dialogue, agreed during her visit to Islamabad in December 2015, could not take place due to the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase in January 2016 and other attacks last year emanating from Pakistan.
She also noted that the government’s diplomatic efforts in the wake of Pathankot and Uri attacks led to widespread recognition internationally that Pakistan’s policy to sponsor and support terrorism against its neighbours posed the biggest challenge to peace and stability in the region and beyond.
“The government was also able to effectively neutralise Pakistan’s efforts to internationalise Kashmir issue, and conveyed to India’s interlocutors that normalisation of India-Pakistan relations through a peaceful bilateral dialogue can take place only in a conducive environment free from violence and terrorism,” Swaraj said.
She, however, added that during this period, “the governments of India and Pakistan remained in touch through bilateral diplomatic channels, including for addressing all urgent humanitarian and other matters concerning people-to-people ties.”