Pakistan calls off NSA-level talks, says Kashmir must be on agenda.
Sartaj Aziz, who is scheduled to travel to New Delhi on Sunday for talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, told a press conference in Islamabad that he is ready to travel to India as per schedule but without any pre-conditions.
He criticised the Indian government for its insistence that he should not meet Kashmiri separatist leaders while in New Delhi.
“Pakistan wants to discuss modalities of Kashmir issues, it is a complex issue. We never expected any breakthrough in the meeting, but current issues could be resolved,” said Aziz.
Statement came after a bitter war of words exchanged from New Delhi, Pakistan stuck to its objection and called off the talks saying India’s pre-conditions were unacceptable.
Sources said that the talks cannot be focused on terror and Kashmir must be on the agenda. Pakistan also said that NSA Sartaj Aziz cannot come to India if he is not allowed to hold talks with Hurriyat leaders.
While addressing a press conference, Swaraj said, “There cannot be talk with terror, but there can be talk on terror, and it is a must. The understanding in Ufa clearly stated in writing that the agenda was decided.
On the issue of not allowing Sartaj Aziz’s meet with Hurriyat leaders, the Union Minister said that it was decided in the Shimla accord that no third party should be involved when India and Pakistan sit to talk.
Stopping short of cancelling the talks, the External Affairs Minister said, “We are ready to welcome Sartaj Aziz if he doesn’t involve any third party and if talks remain confined to terror, as discussed in Ufa by the leaders of the two countries.”
Meanwhile Islamabad replied “If the only purpose of NSA talks is to discuss terrorism, instead of improving prospects for peace it will only intensify the blame game ” .