A day after Pakistan’s adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Islamabad will invite New Delhi for a dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir, India drew the red line as it welcomed dialogue on “contemporary and relevant issues”, including “stoppage of Pakistani support for cross-border terrorism”.
This terse response from the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Vikas Swarup came on a day Wang Yi, foreign minister of Pakistan’s all-weather friend China, met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and discussed the China-Pakistan economic corridor.
Launching a book on Modi Doctrine at another event on Saturday, Swaraj said, “Among issues that dominate global concerns today is the threat of terrorism. As you all know, it is an issue which has confronted Indian diplomacy for many years because of its cross-border manifestation. Unlike in the past, we cannot agree that dialogue with sponsors and supporters of terrorism should carry on without being linked to action in that regard. In fact, we have insisted that addressing the challenge of terrorism is central to engagement.”
On Aziz’s proposal to invite India for a dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir, Swarup said, “India would welcome a dialogue on contemporary and relevant issues in India-Pakistan relations. At this time they include a stoppage of Pakistani support for cross-border terrorism, infiltration of terrorists like Bahadur Ali, incitement to violence and terrorism across the border, parading of internationally recognised terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, and sincere follow-up on the Mumbai attack trial and the Pathankot attack investigation in Pakistan.”
Setting precondition for talks is being seen as New Delhi’s hardline response, and comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for highlighting atrocities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir at the international level.
The war of words is the latest after Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif upped the ante on the Kashmir issue in the wake of the turmoil in the valley over the last one month.
Aziz’s proposal on Friday — “Our Foreign Secretary would formally be writing to his counterpart in this regard” — was aimed at making the point after Pakistan’s Envoys’ Conference held on August 1-3. He had said the conference spent considerable time on the “grim situation” in Kashmir. The conference had emphasised that Islamabad should continue to extend full diplomatic, political and moral support to Kashmiris’ movement for self-determination.