Soldiers’ death to delay secretaries’ talks: India

Published August 14, 2013
An Indian army soldier patrols near the Line of Control after reported ceasefire violation, in Mendhar, Poonch district. — File photo
An Indian army soldier patrols near the Line of Control after reported ceasefire violation, in Mendhar, Poonch district. — File photo

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday gave a clear indication that killing of five of its soldiers on the Line of Control would delay the secretary-level talks with Pakistan, asserting that dialogue could only proceed in an environment free of violence and terror.

It also asked Pakistan to “uphold the LoC’s sanctity”, saying it was the “most important confidence-building measure” between the two countries, The Hindu newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, the Indian external affairs minister said New Delhi was still in a sense of shock over “ceasefire violations by Pakistan” and called for a return to peace and tranquility on the border, according to the Times of India.

“There is a sense of disappointment. We first need to get back to normal. There are other priorities,” Salman Khurshid told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

He was replying to a question after Pakistan said on Monday it had no immediate plans to confer the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India.

“There has to be peace and tranquility on the border. Ceasefire should not be violated. We are still in a sense of shock.”

In his statement, a spokesperson for India’s external affairs ministry said Pakistan should abide by its publicly-articulated commitment made by the 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.

He was replying to a query over newspaper reports that Hafiz Saeed, the Jamaatud Dawa supremo, led Eid prayers 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 secretary-level dialogue which was 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 talks. 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 had suggested August 27 and 28 for the Wullar Barrage meeting between the water and power secretaries and September 16 and 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 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 added that “unprovoked incidents on the LoC naturally will have consequences for the bilateral relations”.

—Monitoring Desk

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