India on Saturday night ruled out early resumption of dialogue with Pakistan saying necessary conditions for it do not exist.
In a brief chat with reporters before he entered into talks with visiting US Secretary of State Colin Powell, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha told reporters: ''India has always held that if the necessary conditions for talks are created, we will have talks. But we do not think that necessary conditions exist at present.''
On his way to Delhi, Powell told reporters accompanying him that he was "not expecting a breakthrough yet of the kind we saw a month or so ago...I just want to make sure we are not just stopped and I want to see what both sides might be willing to do to keep going down that escalatory ladder.''
Soon after his arrival, Powell held one-on-one talks with Sinha, followed by delegation-level talks attended by Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Christina Rocca and Elizabeth Millard of the National Security Council.
The Indian delegation included India's Ambassador to the US Lalit Mansingh and senior MEA officials.
Powell leaves for Pakistan on Sunday after meetings with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra.
Asked when he expected India and Pakistan to resume dialogue, Powell countered it with some questions of his own: ''Will it be when the escalation goes down? Will it be when there is greater assurance that there is no cross-border infiltration? Will it be when elections [n Jammu and Kashmir] are over?''
All these, he said "are possibilities that I will explore with the two sides and see if we can even begin talking about talks at some point in the near future.''
To a pointed question by an American journalist on whether India would allow international observers in Jammu and Kashmir for the October elections, Sinha said: ''We have already said that people could come on an individual basis. Those who are in Delhi can visit J&K during the elections. ''We have a very independent Election Commission. We have a proud record of elections in this country. I can assure you that with all this in place, J&K elections will be free and fair.''
Powell also expressed his grief over the death of Vice President Krishan Kant and extended condolences to the bereaved family.
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