Foreign Secretary-level talks: Ball is in Pakistan's court, says India

India on Thursday said the ball was in Pakistan's court on holding Foreign Secretary-level talks as it was for Islamabad to decide on readiness to discuss issues of cross-border terrorism, vacation of illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir and closing down terror camps.

PTI August 18, 2016 18:24:09 IST
Foreign Secretary-level talks: Ball is in Pakistan's court, says India

New Delhi: India on Thursday said the ball was in Pakistan's court on holding Foreign Secretary-level talks as it was for Islamabad to decide on readiness to discuss issues of cross-border terrorism, vacation of illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir and closing down terror camps.

In a response to his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry's offer for talks on Kashmir, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said discussions should focus on cessation of terrorist activities in J&K and ending incitement to violence and terror in the Valley.

Foreign Secretarylevel talks Ball is in Pakistans court says India

Image courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia

Briefing reporters, MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Jaishankar conveyed that he accepts his counterpart's invitation to visit Islamabad but made it clear the discussions should focus first on the pressing aspects of the J&K situation flagged by him.

"In a letter dated August 16, 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. Pakistan has no locus standi in respect of J&K, which is an integral part of our nation," said Swarup.

Deliberations should also focus on denying safe haven, shelters and support to terrorists in Pakistan who have escaped Indian law, Jaishankar said in his letter.

"The ball is in Pakistan's court now. They had made an offer, We have responded to the offer. It is up to them to carry it forward," said Swarup.

The response also conveyed that detaining and prosecuting internationally recognised Pakistani terrorist leaders who have been publicly active in exhorting and supporting such violence in that state should be part of the talks besides closing down terrorist training camps, Swarup added.

The Foreign Secretary said he looked forward to discussing with his Pakistani counterpart the "earliest possible vacation of Pakistan's illegal occupation of the Indian state of J&K".

In his letter, the Foreign Secretary also underlined the importance of bringing to justice all those guilty in Pakistan for the attacks in Mumbai and at Pathankot airbase.

"He said that his visit should provide the opportunity to receive a briefing from Pakistan's Foreign Secretary on progress in this regard," said Swarup.

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