While there have been some indications from Pakistan about the possibility of peace talks with India, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj categorically ruled out any comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan till such time that the neighbour nation shuns the path of harbouring and fostering terrorism against India.
Swaraj said this at the annual press conference of her ministry in New Delhi on Monday.
She said that while there were people dying at the border because of terrorism, it would never be appropriate for holding talks.
“We are always ready for talks with Pakistan but with a caveat that terror and talks cannot go together… There cannot be a comprehensive dialogue till Pakistan shuns terror,” the minister said at the press conference.
“Jab seema par janaze uth rahe hon, to baatcheet ki awaaz acchi nahi lagti (when people are dying on the border, talk of dialogue is not appropriate,” she added.
The press conference was also hosted to illustrate how the ministry had performed during the four years of the Modi government.
Swaraj made the Pakistan comment while replying to a question about whether there is any possibility of any bilateral peace talks between India and Pakistan after the general elections get over in the neighbouring country.
However, Swaraj did admit that the NSAs of India and Pakistan regularly hold meetings to “talks on terror”. She said that such talks are part of established mechanisms and should be treated as being separate from comprehensive talks.
Hitting out at Pakistan on its “Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018” that relates to exercising administrative control over Gilgit-Baltistan, Swaraj said that Pakistan always “distorts history”.
“Pakistan tries to teach us history and geography. It is one country which does not believe in rule of law and I would just say one thing to their answer ‘look who’s talking’,” Swaraj asserted.
Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 was approved by the cabinet of Pakistan on 21 May this year which has also been ratified by the assembly of the region. This measure is being viewed as a desperate attempt by Pakistan to incorporate and make the disputed territory as its fifth province.
A strong protest over that Islamabad’s latest move was lodged by New Delhi with the deputy high commissioner of Pakistan Syed Haider Shah after he was summoned by the external affairs minister on Sunday. India said that any action that is taken by Pakistan to change the status of any part of the territory that is under the “forcible and illegal occupation” of Pakistan does not possess any legal basis.
Following India’s stand and comments of Sunday, Pakistan called India’s claim over Jammu and Kashmir as “spurious” and said that the claim challenges everything from history to the situation on the ground.
(Adapted from LiveMint.com)