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India rejects Pakistan’s invitation for talks, says ready to discuss cross-border terrorism not Kashmir

The development comes amid strained bilateral ties between the two countries over the Kashmir issue.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 17, 2016 7:53:53 pm
Jammu and Kashmir, Narendra Modi, Pakistan, India, India Pakistan talks, India Pak talks, Indo Pak talks, Kashmir dialogue Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar. (Source: Express file photo by Renuka Puri)

Two days after Pakistan invited India for talks on Kashmir, India on Wednesday turned down it’s proposal for foreign secretary-level talks, saying terror remains the core concern but asserted that it would like to discuss aspects related to cross-border terrorism which are central to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar expressed his willingness to travel to Islamabad after receiving invitation from Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry. He, however, maintained that Pakistan has no locus standi in addressing any aspect of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is an internal matter of India, except to put an end to cross-border terrorism and infiltration.

READ: Pakistan invites India for talks on Kashmir

“Since aspects related to cross-border terrorism are central to the current situation in J&K, we have proposed that discussions between the Foreign Secretaries be focused on them.

In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaraia had said that “it is the ‘international obligation’ of both the countries to resolve the issue, notwithstanding India’s insistence that it would talk on “contemporary and relevant” issues in Indo-Pak relations.

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“The Foreign Secretary called in the Indian High Commissioner this afternoon (15 August 2016) and handed over a letter addressed to his Indian counterpart, inviting him to visit Pakistan for talks on Jammu and Kashmir dispute that has been the main bone of contention between India and Pakistan,” Zakaria had said.

READ: US encourages Indo-Pak dialogue, counter terrorism co-operation

The development comes amid strained bilateral ties between the two countries over the Kashmir issue. The statement said, “The letter highlights the international obligation of both the countries, India and Pakistan, to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.”

Pakistan’s invitation came days after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Parliament that India was only willing to discuss the Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir issue and that the question of discussing Jammu and Kashmir with Islamabad doesn’t arise.

India, on its part, has made it amply clear to Pakistan that it will only discuss “contemporary and relevant” issues in India-Pakistan relations.

Meanwhile, the United States of America has urged for greater communication and counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries. “We have said that many times,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday.

(With PTI inputs)

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