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Killing of soldiers to delay secy-level Indo-Pak talks

Last updated on: August 13, 2013 19:25 IST

India has given a clear indication that killing of its five soldiers on LoC by Pakistan Army will delay the Indo-Pak Secretary-level talks, asserting that dialogue can only proceed in an environment free of violence and terror.

It also asked Pakistan to uphold the sanctity of LoC, saying it was the "most important Confidence Building Measure" between the two countries.

Pakistan should abide by its publicly-articulated commitment made by newly-elected prime minister to seek a relationship of peace, friendship and cooperation with India and should not allow its territory to be used against anti-India activities, spokesperson in the external affairs ministry said.

He was responding to a query on Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, leading Eid prayers at the famous Gaddafi stadium in Lahore.

Asked about India's stand over the Pakistani proposal suggesting dates for Secretary-level talks, he said India did receive last month proposals for some Secretary-level dialogue which were to be hosted by Pakistan.

"... For peaceful dialogue to proceed we need an environment free of violence and terror. And certainly what has happened last week doesn't fit into that. That said there was no timeline for the held definitely to held. We are considering these things and have factored-in all subsequent developments also. We will take a call in due time," he said.

In its proposal, Pakistan has suggested August 27-28 for the Wullar Barrage meeting between the water and power secretaries and September 16-17 for the Sir Creek maritime boundary issue.

Asserting that India was committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through a peaceful bilateral dialogue in an environment free of violence and terror, the spokesperson said, "In the current context and the events of last week we see that the upholding of the sanctity of the LoC is vital.

"It is to us one of the most important CBMs between the two countries. It is vital to uphold the sanctity of the LoC."

He also added that "unprovoked incidents on the LoC naturally will have the consequences for the bilateral relations."

His comments come in the backdrop of series of ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. However, Pakistan Foreign Office had summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad to protest "ceasefire violations" by the BSF along the LoC, claiming that it resulted in the death of a civilian at Rawalakot in PoK.

India expects Pakistan to abide by its publicly stated commitment not to allow its territory or the territories under its control to be used for terrorism and violence against India, the spokesperson said. 

"We also look forward to determined action being undertaken to dismantle the terrorist network and infrastructure as well as tangible movement to bring to justice quickly those involved in the Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008," he added.

He also said that Saeed was the mastermind behind 2008 and should be brought to justice. "And we will not rest till we fulfil that. Fugitives from justice need to be brought to justice," the Spokesperson said.

On whether there will be a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif next month in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, he did not give a clear reply, saying it was still quite some time away.

Asked about remarks of Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, a close aide of Sharif, that the government was not considering any proposal to grant Most Favoured Nation-status to India, the spokesperson downplayed it saying India has been on this path before and will address the issue "as and when required".

On India not granting visa to a Pakistani religious group, he said India had received request from 'zaireen' from Pakistan to come for Urs, or death anniversary, of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya but it was suggested that they defer the visit in view of their safety and security.

He also said India has assured Pakistan High Commission officials that all necessary security would be provided in the view of recent incidents of protest in front of their mission. 

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