Cancellation of NSA talks by Pakistan is “unfortunate”, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday and made it clear that the possibility of any future dialogue will depend on the neighbour.
He underlined that India stands for dialogue and cordial relationship with Pakistan, a day after the talks between NSA Ajit Doval and his counterpart Sartaj Aziz were called off.
“The cancellation of NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan is unfortunate. India is in favour of dialogue,” Singh said on the sidelines of a function at Sanskrit Vidyapeeth.
On Pakistan blaming India for cancellation of talks, the Home Minister said, “It is Pakistan which has cancelled the talks and not India.”
He said that India has always been of the view of maintaining good and cordial relationship with the nighbours and its efforts would continue.
“But Pakistan should not have deviated from the agenda decided during the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (in Ufa in July),” he said.
On Pakistan’s criticism of India’s objections to Aziz’s meeting with Kashmiri separatist leaders, Singh said, “the thing was that there will be no third party in NSA-level talks. It was only NSA level talk. There was nothing like that others too will hold talks before, later or in between.”
The Union Minister said Pakistan should have held talks as per pre-decided agenda.
On Pakistan’s claim that Kashmir was the main agenda, the Home Minister said, “then why was it not decided earlier that when it would be part of NSA level talks? It was never an issue on agenda.”
India has maintained that terror was the only agenda on the talks between the two NSAs.
Asked about possibility of any dialogue in future, Singh said, “go and ask Pakistan, how can I reply to it.”
On being asked about the next step of India, the Home
Minister said it was upto Pakistan to decide.
“As far as India’s intention is concerned, I want to make it clear that it is in favour of having good and cordial relationship with its neighbour,” he said.
Singh had yesterday said that India “sticks to its stand” that dialogue must be held only on terrorism at the Indo-Pak NSA-level talks.
Noting that the agenda for the talks was set in Ufa, the minister had said Pakistan must not deviate from it.
“The agenda decided at the talks which took place between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif in Ufa was acceptable to both the sides,” he said.
“India sticks to that agenda and that cannot not be changed,” he had said.