India has finally confirmed that its National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval indeed met his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Khan Janjua in Bangkok last month with a focus on how to fight terror and end cross-border terrorism.
“Yes, I agree talks took place. I also agree that the issue is of terrorism. Talks were held on how to rid this region of the scourge of terrorism, how to ensure that terrorism doesn’t affect this region. I think we raised the issue of cross-border terrorism (with Pakistan) in those talks,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar was quoted by IANS.
There were plenty of speculations over the reported meeting of Doval and Janjua with many even taking a dig at the Modi government for its confused foreign policy.
Responding to queries, Kumar sought to de-link the meeting between the NSAs from the stalled India-Pakistan dialogue process and said it was a part of operational level engagement between the two countries.
He said, “We have said terror &talks cannot go together but talks on terror can definitely go ahead.”
He added, “The dialogue process between India and Pakistan… We have said talks and terror cannot go together. But apart from that, there are other dialogue mechanisms that take place between India and Pakistan like talks at DGMO level, talks between BSF and Pakistan Rangers, there is a regular mechanism. Likewise, talks between NSAs is a part of operational level talks.”
Quoting a Pakistani official, Times of India reported that the meeting had come a day after Indian death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav met with his family on 25 December in Islamabad.