Play on words over NSA talks

NSA Ajit Doval with his Pakistani counterpart Lt. Gen. Nasser Khan

NSA Ajit Doval with his Pakistani counterpart Lt. Gen. Nasser Khan

Over a fortnight after their meeting, the government today confirmed that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval held talks with his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua (retd) in Thailand, noting that "talks on terror" can definitely go ahead.

"I am agreeing that talks took place & our issue was eliminating terrorism from the region, we, of course, raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in those talks", said minister spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on NSA level talks between India and Pakistan. He said India used the opportunity to raise the issue of cross border terrorism, infiltration and safe sanctuaries for terrorists along the border with Pakistan. Besides that, there are several other dialogue mechanisms between India and Pakistan.

He said while India believed that "terror and talks cannot go together but talks on terror can definitely go ahead". This engagement was not the resumption of talks, he clarified. "Likewise, talks between NSAs is a part of operational level talks".

"The dialogue process between India and Pakistan". This will take the wind out of Pakistan's attempts to blame India on global platforms for avoiding talks to de-escalate border tension.

New Delhi says Jadhav was kidnapped in Iran where he had legitimate business interests, and brought to Pakistan. The MEA official made it clear that these mechanisms are not part of the structured CBD that was announced between the two countries during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit to Islamabad in 2015.

Modi also visited Pakistan in a surprise stopover on 25 December, 2015, on his way back from Russian Federation and Afghanistan. Talks were held on how to rid this region of the scourge of terrorism, how to ensure that terrorism doesn't affect this region.

The news of the meeting, reported by an Indian newspaper and confirmed by a member of Pakistan's National Security Council, had left the Narendra Modi government red-faced as it came in the middle of a war of words over the way Islamabad had treated death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav's mother and wife.

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