India proposes and abandons NSA-level talks with Pakistan

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azizNSA-level talks proposed by India in New York last month was scuttled after Pakistan had put a pre-condition for dialogue—talks between foreign ministers.

India went back saying that Pakistan was against the July meeting between the two premiers, in Ufa.

According to Pakistan sources, Islamabad wanted its NSA Sartaj Aziz, who is also the country’s foreign minister, to hold talks with India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, before commencing dialogue with India’s NSA Ajit Doval.

When asked, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “There is no question of having a meeting between the foreign ministers; it was never a part of the Ufa agenda.”

What took place in New York was a recap of what went on between the two countries before the aborted NSA talks, in August. Pakistan then too had proposed a meeting between the two foreign secretaries, on the sidelines of NSA-level talks.

While the NSAs could focus on terrorism, as India wanted, and foreign ministers or secretaries could meet subsequently to talk about other issues, importantly the K-issue, according to Pakistan.

With a repeat of the positions taken by both sides and with Pakistan not willing to give up Hurriyat, it might be curtains for the softening of ties, as seen in Ufa.

Since the statement issued by foreign secretary S Jaishankar and his counterpart Aziz Chaudhary in Ufa did not mention Kashmir, Pakistan repeatedly said that, no dialogue is possible with India, if Kashmir is not part of the agenda.

Sharif wanted a mention of Kashmir in the Ufa statement, but was overcome by India to leave that out and make do with need to discuss “all outstanding issues”. However, with the BJP showing the statement as an Indian victory, Aziz had to set things straight.

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