New Delhi: NSA level talks between India and Pakistan scheduled for today have been called off after India put its foot down and told Pakistan in categorical terms that their discussions should not involve any third party and these talks should be only on terrorism.
Pakistan tried to fudge the agenda for these talks by inviting the Kashmiri Hurriyat (separatist) leaders and advocating the necessity to engage them in deliberations linked with these talks.
India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Saturday gave Pakistan the ultimatum that India will not agree to the involvement of a third party (Hurriyat) in talks and also that these should only be focused on terrorism.
Addressing a press conference, here Ms. Swaraj declared a deadline and said ” Pakistan has time till tonight to reply. If they agree on these two points, they are welcome to Delhi. Otherwise, no talks.”
“If Pakistan feels Indian positions are pre-conditions, then there will be no talks. Pakistan must respect Ufa and Shimla spirit,” said Ms. Swaraj.
Pakistan rejected India’s conditions later in the evening. On Saturday afternoon, day before his scheduled departure for Delhi, Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz also called a press conference in Islamabad. He said that exploring modalities for the talks for all outstanding issues proposed by Pakistan was in keeping with Ufa understanding and wondered if India would call off talks on the grounds that he was meeting the Hurriyat leaders from Kashmir