MEA confirms India, Pakistan NSAs met in Bangkok: ‘Talks on terror can go on’

MEA said the focus of the “operational-level talks” was “cross-border terror” and ways to ensure elimination of terrorism from the region.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: January 12, 2018 7:05 am
MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. (Source: ANI photo)

THE GOVERNMENT on Thursday confirmed that National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval met his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua (retd) as part of “operational-level talks”, and stressed that “talks on terror can definitely go ahead”.

The Indian Express had first reported the meeting between the two NSAs, held at a “neutral venue” in Bangkok on December 26. The report, on December 31, said that while the meeting was held a day after retired Naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on Death Row in Pakistan, met his wife and mother in Islamabad, it was “pre-scheduled” and not linked to Pakistan’s treatment of Jadhav’s family.

Responding to questions at the weekly briefing, the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday, “India and Pakistan have a dialogue process and we have said terror and talks cannot go together. 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”.

Also Read | India, Pak NSAs met in Bangkok a day after Christmas

He said the focus of the “operational-level talks” was “cross-border terror” and ways to ensure elimination of terrorism from the region.

Asked whether Doval raised the issue of Jadhav’s meeting with his family, the MEA spokesperson said the focus was on containing cross-border terrorism. “Some of these meetings are pre-determined. Dates are decided well in advance. It is not to do with anything which is happening at that point of time,” he said.

On whether the NSAs would meet again, Kumar said the information would be shared as and when such operational meetings take place.

READ | Rules of engagement: What to make of India-Pak NSAs’ meeting in Bangkok

The Indian Express had also reported that Pakistan has maintained high-level diplomatic contacts with the Indian establishment, even as New Delhi has maintained the rhetoric that terror and talks cannot go together.

In the past four-and-a-half months, new Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood has met the top Indian leadership — External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. While these are official meetings, sources said there have been several under-the-radar meetings with top officials in the Indian establishment.

The meeting between the two NSAs was in line with the understanding reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2015, on the sidelines of the Climate Change summit in Paris, that “contacts need to be maintained”. This understanding was reiterated during the Modi-Sharif meeting in Lahore on December 25, 2015.

The meeting, reported to have lasted more than two hours, was kept under wraps, but it is believed that the Indian NSA raised the issue of infiltration of militants into Kashmir from across the Line of Control (LoC) with active support from the Pakistan Army. Janjua is believed to have raised the issue of unrest in Kashmir, besides alleged targeting of civilians in villages along the LoC in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Pakistan’s handling of terrorists, with 26/11 terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed being freed from police custody and attempting to join mainstream politics, and Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi remaining out on bail, is also assumed to have figured in the conversation.

It was not the first meeting between the two NSAs in a third country. In December 2015, the two NSAs, along with the two foreign secretaries, had met, again in Bangkok, which was not revealed till after the meeting. That was followed, within days, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise stopover in Lahore, to wish Sharif on his birthday on December 25.

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  1. Michelle:: Vedic::human
    Jan 12, 2018 at 9:38 am
    Kusha or Kusa (Sanskrit: कुश) and his twin brother Lava were the children of Lord Rama and Sita. He was the ruler of the kingdom centered at Kasur in ancient times. His brother Lava founded Lavapuri (current day city of A legend based on oral traditions holds that Lahore, known in ancient times as Lavapuri(City of Lava in Sanskrit), was founded by Prince Lava, the son of Sita and Rama Kasurwas founded by his twin brother Prince Kusha. To this day, Lahore Fort has a vacant Lava temple dedicated to Lava (also pronounced Loh, hence Loh-awar or "The Fort of Loh"). -so Pakistan it self is occupying the land of the Hindus----Jai hind.
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    1. balaji baliarsingh
      Jan 12, 2018 at 9:00 am
      It is correct that talks do not produce the desired result so far. But even though we should continue the same effort. But we should not fully depend on the talk that it will solve all the problem. Same time we have to be careful to tackle the unwanted situation also. One thing is that, people's concept tends to change in changing time. Even our supreme court also revisits its earlier verdicts. Hence there may be a chance the people from both the side start thinking that enough is enough now we should grow with working together. I think total public from both the side are not dead against with one another except some section of public. it is felt ,the people in politics defence sector , from both the side,are a little bit rigid in maintaining the friendship. Otherwise rest is ok. People in academic, business ,sports cultural fields are good in cooperating with one another.
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      1. Ramesh Nittoor
        Jan 12, 2018 at 7:55 am
        Terror emanating from Pakistan has 3 components. The first component began against Russia and later morphed against Western nations. The second one is against India. The blowback of these state sponsored efforts has now turned against government itself and is its most menacing component of the triad. While prioritizing sa uarding the government itself is the natural and correct course of action, it may have run its course. The effort to contain terror in their western front while fueling India centric terror shall not pay off hereafter. It also probably has been realized that terrorism at present stage has become fungible and all 3 components threaten civilian democracy and their foundational values. This realization has yet have gained adequate credence within Pakistan, if it does political efforts for normalcy with India can begin. Their security setup cannot easily turn course unless trust in India is absolute, and China game is to increase the threshold of such trust.
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        1. Ramesh Nittoor
          Jan 12, 2018 at 7:57 am
          This realization has not yet have gained adequate credence within Pakistan
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        2. Abdulhaq Syed
          Jan 12, 2018 at 7:47 am
          India and its collaborator Afghanistan are in cohoots against Pakistan and are training ,funding, aiding and abetting terrorists to kill and maim people in Pakistan. The terrorist and spy Jadev was apprehended and he spilled the beans as to the modus ope i of RAW and Khud. These two terrorist states must be resisted and their terrorist networks destroyed, a job not too difficult for the nimble and efficient ISI.
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          1. Indian Singh
            Jan 12, 2018 at 4:14 pm
            A JADAV abducted by JIHADIS from Iran and handed over to PA-KI ARMY is all the proof PA-KIS have. ............ And PA-KI ARMY MILITARY COURT tried him as CIVIL COURTS will not accept FAKE PROOF of JIHADI ARMY. ............. Most INDIANS want India to CUT OFF all CONTACT with PA-KIS- No TALKS, No VISA, No BUS, No TRAIN, No PLANE, No BUSINESS, No BILATERAL SPORTS, No BOLLYWOOD, No MUSIC, No ANYTHING TO DO WITH PA-KIS. ................. Please don't COME to INDIA. STAY in PAK and ENJOY the absolute bliss of ISLAMIC COUNTRY with JIHADI KI-LLINGS.
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          2. shabir ahmed
            Jan 12, 2018 at 7:21 am
            The sectret meeting of NSAs of India and Pakistan in Bangkok away from media glare is a welcome step in bilateral relations between two neighboring countries.Such meetings should be continued to resolve various issues particularly cross border terrorism and regular ceasefire violations at LOC and International border in J K.The firings at LOC and IB for the last two years have resulted in heavy civilian casualties and displacements on both sides of the fence.The talks could be taken to higher level and deal with substantive issues in due course of time. It is heartening that the Modi Government has shed the untenable position held so far that no talks would be held with Pakistan till the cross border terrorism ends.Silent and track two diplomacy are the best course for the present for two countries.
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