Two days after Pakistani foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry extended an invitation for talks to his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar, India accepted the invite but rejected any talks over Kashmir.
Jaishankar said that he is willing to talk but only on cross-border terrorism.
According to reports, sources in the ministry said, “Since aspects related to cross-border terrorism are central to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, we have proposed that discussions between the Foreign Secretaries be focussed on them.”
S Jaishankar (left) with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhary in New Delhi. PTI
Stating that Pakistan’s allegations on India’s handling of the Kashmir unrest is “self-serving”, India said that it has conveyed to Islamabad its intention.
India has told Pakistan that it will only discuss “contemporary and relevant” issues in their relationship.
Addressing a press conference, Jaishankar said that India has been taking great efforts to reach out to Pakistan for the last two years. The biggest hindrance, he pointed out, is terrorism which has made the “relationship difficult to grow”. On Monday, Chaudhary had called the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan and handed him the invitation to Jaishankar. Ties between India and Pakistan have been strained following Pakistan’s backing of terrorist sympathisers following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani and the subsequent unrest in the Valley. In a sharp and strong response, India had shot back at Islamabad accusing it of arming and training terrorists and “coveting the land of other countries”.