Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan on first time since the terrorist attack on Pathankot Air Force base in January this year.
Kashmir and terrorism dominated the talks held between Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry with Pakistani side firmly insisting on probe into the strike and Kashmir describing it as a core issue.
After the talks held at the sidelines of Heart of Asia conference in Delhi, the Pakistani side said that its Foreign Secretary “emphasised that Kashmir remains the core issue that requires a just solution in accordance with UNSC resolutions and wishes of Kashmiri people.”
Accoring to PTI news, there was no immediate formal word from the Indian side on the meeting.
Ahead of the meeting, the Indian officials had maintained that Pathankot attack and a possible visit by the NIA to Pakistan will be raised during the FS-level talks, which were deferred in January in the wake of the strike at the strategic air base at Pathankot.
“In line with our PM’s vision of peaceful neighborhood, FS underscored Pakistan’s commitment to have friendly relations with all its neighbors/India. All outstanding issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute were discussed,” the Pakistan High Commission said.
During the meeting, India raised the issue of “abduction” of former Naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, saying he has been taken to Pakistan, and sought immediate consular access. This is for the first time India has categorically said Jadhav was abducted.
“India’s Foreign Secretary emphasised the need for early and visible progress on the Pathankot terrorist attack investigation as well as the Mumbai case trial in Pakistan. He also brought up the listing of JeM leader Masood Azhar in the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee.
“Foreign Secretary Jaishankar clearly conveyed that Pakistan cannot be in denial on the impact of terrorism on the bilateral relationship. Terrorist groups based in Pakistan targeting India must not be allowed to operate with impunity,” a statement by the External Affairs Ministry said after the talks.
India has been pressing for action against terrorists responsible for the audacious attack on the IAF base, to take the talks forward.
Jaishankar was scheduled to travel to Islamabad to hold talks with Chaudhary on 15 January but both the countries had announced deferment of the talks with “mutual consent” in the wake of the Pathankot attack.
Today’s meeting came after Pakistani High Commissioner, Abdul Basit, told media earlier this month that Pakistan had suspended peace talks with India, causing a huge setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Pakistan policy’.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi, the Pakistani High Commissioner, Abdul Basit, had said, “I think at present the peace process between India and Pakistan is suspended.”
Basit also supported China’s stand to veto India’s attempts to ban Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar saying that “I subscribe to Chinese viewpoint.”
Basit said, ” The recent arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav in Pakistan irrefutably corroborates what Pakistan has been saying all along. We all are aware of those who seek to create unrest in Pakistan and destabilise the country. They are bound to fail as the people of Pakistan are united to effectively counter anti-Pakistan subversive activities.”