Ahead of Sartaj Aziz trip, India says stop terror, then talk
As it rebuked Islamabad for Pakistan army’s “tacit support” to terrorists who killed three Indian soldiers at the LoC, one of whose bodies was mutilated, India warned Pakistan again on Thursday that there could be no bilateral dialogue until the time the neighbouring country put an end to terrorism.
The external affairs ministry reiterated India’s position that talks and terror cannot go together. The remark is significant as it comes just ahead of a visit to India by Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif‘s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz for the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar on December 3-4. While Pakistan is open to a bilateral engagement on the sidelines of the conference, it wants India to formally propose dialogue. “Pakistan would be well advised to focus its energies on stemming the rot of terrorism instead of expending its breath in making baseless allegations. He (Aziz) would be well advised to rather woo Pakistanis to end his government’s policy of state sponsorship of terrorism,” said MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup, reacting to Aziz’s remark that Islamabad would reach out to Indians who are opposed to PM Narendra Modi’s “extremist policies”.
Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, who will soon undergo a kidney transplant, will not be attending the conference on Afghanistan in Amritsar. “It is incumbent on Pakistan to create the necessary environment for a conducive bilateral dialogue to happen,” said Swarup, while not confirming if a bilateral meeting is on the agenda.
The official said India strongly deplored the tacit support of the Pakistani army to armed terrorists that came from close to that country’s army posts on November 22, and targeted an Indian patrol near the Line of Control in Machhil sector. The government also conveyed its concern at the continued attempts to infiltrate armed terrorists from across the LoC to target Indian posts and patrols. “During the last week alone, there have been 15 instances when terrorists indulged in nefarious actions from the vicinity of Pakistani army posts across the Line of Control,” he said.