New Delhi: India on Thursday categorically shut down speculation over the possibility of talks with Pakistan’s foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz during his visit to India for the Heart of Asia conference. The statement came days after the terrorist strike on an Indian Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nagrota.
During a weekly news briefing, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup held true to India’s stated policy that ‘talks and terror do not go together’.
Addressing reports, especially in Pakistani media, that Aziz would be open to holding talks on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar if he is approached by India. “Talks cannot happen in a climate of continued terrorism. India will never accept continued terrorism as the new normal of the bilateral relationship,” said Swarup.
Aziz is set to represent Pakistan at the ministerial conference on December 4. Swarup said the primary reason for the current state of India-Pakistan relationship is the continued cross border terrorism from Pakistan. “India is always prepared for talks with Pakistan. Anyone who says we have shied away from the dialogue or do not want the dialogue, they are way off the mark,” he said.
“When Pakistan says talks should be without conditions, we are also saying the same thing. Stop cross-border terrorism and we can talk,” he added.
Swarup said India has taken the Nagrota terror attack very seriously and will do what it feels is required for country’s national security. “Government is awaiting specific details on the terror attack before deciding on next step,” he said.
Swarup also refused to pass any comment on Qamar Javed Bajwa’s assumption of office as the new Pakistan Army chief. “The appointment of a new Army chief is an internal matter of Pakistan. We will judge Pakistan based on its actions and not by its personnel changes,” he said.