Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar has accepted his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry's invitation for talks but has made clear that the agenda should concern only issues related to terrorism, a top official said on Thursday. This is the first time India where India, not only made terror as the basis of their dialogue but also called for a discussion on "the earliest possible vacation of Pakistan's illegal occupation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir".
In a letter submitted by Indian envoy Gautam Bambawale to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry, Jaishankar stated that the talks should focus on five aspects of terrorism.
“In a letter dated 16 August, Foreign Secretary has first of all underlined that Pakistan's self-serving allegations made in their communication are rejected in their entirety by the government of India,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing.
“Pakistan has no locus standi in respect of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of our nation,” he said.
According to Swarup, Jaishankar in his letter “conveyed that he accepts his counterpart's invitation to visit Islamabad” but made it clear that the discussions should focus first on the more pressing aspects of the Jammu and Kashmir situation.
The letter stated that Islamabad should end various activities which harm India's interests. These include cessation of cross-border terrorism by Pakistan aimed at Jammu and Kashmir; ending incitement to violence and terrorism from Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir; detaining and prosecuting internationally recognised Pakistani terrorist leaders who have been publicly active recently in exhorting and supporting such violence in that state; closing down of Pakistani terrorist camps where terrorists such as Bahadur Ali, recently arrested in Jammu and Kashmir, continue to be trained; denying safe haven, shelters and support to terrorists in Pakistan who have escaped Indian law.
“Foreign Secretary also said that he looks forward to discussing with his counterpart the earliest possible vacation of Pakistan's illegal occupation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the spokesperson said referring to the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. The letter sought a briefing from the Pakistan Foreign Secretary on the development in the 26/11 trial in Pakistan and the ongoing probe on Pathankot attack.
He stated that Jaishankar “also underlined the importance of bringing to justice all those guilty in Pakistan for the Mumbai terrorist attack of 2008 and Pathankot airbase attack (in January this year)”.
“He said that his visit should provide the opportunity to receive a briefing from Pakistan's Foreign Secretary on progress in this regard,” Swarup said.
He stated that the world was aware that Pakistan has a long history of violence and terrorism against India, as also in the broader region.
“The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has been its particular target. This record began with the government of Pakistan sending armed raiders into Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 and was repeated in 1965,” Swarup said.
“More than three decades later, displaying a similar attitude, military personnel were infiltrated across the Line of Control in Kargil in 1999.”
This approach to India, Swarup said, was reflected in support for terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir that continued to the present day.
“These acts were initially denied by the Government of Pakistan and attributed to local population, only to be admitted later by Pakistan's leaders who directed and organised such cross-border attacks on India, and assaults on the local people,” he said.
The spokesperson said that the Pakistan government was aware that the framework for interactions between India and Pakistan was stipulated by the Shimla Agreement of July 1972, wherein then Pakistani President ZA Bhutto agreed that the two countries should resolve to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations, as also the Lahore Declaration of February 1999 wherein Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated Pakistan's determination to implement the Simla Agreement in letter and spirit.
“They are also based on the assurance given by (then) President (Pervez) Musharraf in January 2004 that he will not permit any territory under Pakistan's control to be used to support terrorism in any manner” Swarup added.
According to report by The Indian Express, when the spokesperson was asked about Narendra Modi's Balochistan's remark in the Independence Day speech and the Pakistan Foreign Secretary's statement about Modi crossing a line, he said, "I find this an extraordinary remark from a senior functionary of Pakistan that recognises no red lines in its own diplomacy. Pakistan’s record of cross-border terrorism and infiltration is at the heart of the problems in the region today. And this is not just India’s view. You can ask some other countries in the region too.”
“Prime Minister had been thanked by these people for flagging their cause at the all-party meeting which represents all political segments in India. Prime Minister was sufficiently moved by these messages of gratitude to share it with the people of India in his Independence Day address,” he said.
The Paksitan Foreign Ministry has not commented on the letter. However they commented on PM Modi's Balochistan remark and said that Modi crossed a "red line" and that this will "forcefully" raise the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly session next month.
According to a PTI report, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, said, “It is the violation of the UN Charter… He (Modi) crossed the red line by talking about Balochistan.”
With input from agencies