ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Foreign Office announced on Saturday night that the NSA talks are not possible with India’s preconditions.
A press release by the FO stated: “Pakistan has carefully analysed the contents of the Press Conference of the Indian Minister for External Affairs, Mrs. Sushma Sawaraj this afternoon. We have come to the conclusion that the proposed NSA level talks between the two countries would not serve any purpose, if conducted on the basis of the two conditions laid down by the Minister.”
“While the Indian Minister accepts that, to ensure durable peace between the two countries, there is a need to discuss all outstanding issues through a sustained dialogue process, started in 1998 as Composite Dialogue and renamed as Resumed Dialogue in 2011, she then unilaterally restricts the agenda to only two items: creating an atmosphere free from terrorism and tranquility on the LoC.”
“It is equally important to recall that terrorism was always a part of the eight point composite dialogue and it was always discussed simultaneously with other issues between the Interior Secretaries. It is not reasonable for India to now assume the right to decide unilaterally that from now onwards, other issues will be discussed after terrorism has been discussed and eliminated.”
“The main purpose of any dialogue between India and Pakistan is to reduce tensions and restore trust as a first step towards normalisation. If the only purpose of NSA level talks is to discuss terrorism, then instead of improving the prospects for peace it will only intensify the blame game and further vitiate the atmosphere. That is why Pakistan had suggested that apart from discussion on terrorism related issues, the two sides should also discuss modalities and if possible a time schedule, for discussions on all outstanding issues including Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek, in keeping with the understanding of the Ufa statement. That is the only way to improve the prospects for peace between the two countries.”
“As regards the second pre-condition regarding meeting with Hurriyat leaders, it has been pointed out repeatedly that it has been a long-standing practice that whenever Pakistani leaders visited India during the past 20 years, they have been meeting Hurriyat leaders. It would be inappropriate for India to now impose the condition of changing this longstanding practice.”
“Pakistan, therefore, reiterates that the scheduled NSA level talks cannot be held on the basis of the preconditions set by India.”
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said earlier today that ‘Pakistan has till tonight to decide whether to attend the NSA level talks.’
“India has not sent any pre-conditions for National Security Advisor level talks with Pakistan,” Swaraj claimed.
The Indian minister told reporters that NSA level talks were not part of the composite dialogue process and would only discuss the issue of terrorism. “In Ufa when the two prime ministers met there was no discussion on the composite or resumed dialogue.”
Swaraj said that the issue of Kashmir was indeed part of the composite dialogue process but would not be discussed in the NSA talks. “The meeting which had been agreed on in Ufa did not have Kashmir on the agenda.”
Speaking on the issue of Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz’s proposed meeting with Hurriyat leaders, Swaraj said no third party including Hurriyat should be made part of the Pak-India dialogue process. She claimed that Pakistan had signed in the Simla agreement that there would be no third party in the talks.
She emphasised that the talks would only be held on the issue of terrorism and Pakistan had to give assurance on this. “If Pakistan does not agree talks will not happen.”