External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has begun her news conference here on the current status of India-Pakistan talks in the wake of the controversy raised by the neighbouring country.
The press conference is taking place a day after India and Pakistan sparred through verbal and written statements over Islamabad’s determination and intention to meet with separatist leaders from Kashmir ahead of the proposed August 23 and 24 NSA talks.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying that its High Commissioner’s invitation to the Kashmiri Hurriyat leadership on August 23 was very much in keeping with the practice and tradition of the past many years.
While India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) sent across a strong message to Pakistan, insisting that there are only two stakeholders in the talks between India and Pakistan and added that New Delhi is committed to discuss the issues peacefully and bilaterally.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz for the talks in the national capital on Monday.
Here are the highlights of Sushma Swaraj speech:
1. Instead of reducing tensions, Pakistan stepped up terrorism in India, including the Gurdaspur attack, since Ufa talks.
2. India has always maintained that there will be no third party in Indo-Pak talks. Hurriyat cannot be a party.
3. If Pakistan NSA wants to come he is welcome. But talks will only be on terrorism
4. Sartaj Aziz should come if he agrees with India on the points made by us
5. India is not putting any pre-conditions. Only reminding there will be no talks on Kashmir now. It will be only on terror
6. In Ufa declaration there was no reference to Kashmir. Respect Shimla accord and Ufa spirit
7. Pakistan is running away from talks which will be held only when we get a reply. Time available is only tonight
8. If Pakistan does not agree to India’s position, there will be no talks
9. If Pakistan feels Indian positions are pre-conditions, then there will be no talks
10. No scope for expansion of India-Pakistan talks agenda