India, Pakistan Foreign Secretaries Trade Charges
No specifics available on way forward between two sides, only ideas exchanged on future engagement
New Delhi: India and Pakistan were engaged in some plain speaking and tough posturing at the foreign secretary-level talks here on Thursday, with S Jaishankar coming down heavily on Islamabad for living in denial mode over the impact of terrorism on bilateral ties even as Pakistan harped on Kashmir, terming it as the core issue.
The Indian foreign secretary also rubbished all charges of India’s alleged agents in Balochistan, saying “which spy agency will send agent on the ground with own passport and without visa”.
Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry met for nearly 90 minutes during which contentious issues, including probe into the January Pathankot terror attacks, 26/11 trial and Samjhauta Express blast investigations figured. This meeting between Jaishankar and Chaudhry, who is here to attend the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference, was the first formal interaction since their scheduled talks on January 15 in Islamabad were postponed following the Pathankot strikes. While Chaudhry underscored the need for early commencement of comprehensive dialogue for which the Indian foreign secretary’s visit to Pakistan is due, MEA noted that the two exchanged ideas on taking the relationshipforwardandagreedtobe in touch. However, no specifics were availableonthewayforwardbetween the two sides. Although ideas were exchanged on future engagement, further details were not available.
India raised the issue of “abduction” of ex-naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, saying he has been taken to Pakistan, and sought immediate consular access. This is the first time India has said Jadhav was abducted. However, Pakistan said it has raised the issue of “capturing” Jadhav and expressed concern over RAW’s alleged involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi, a charge which was rebutted by India.
ANOTHER HANDSHAKE: S Jaishankar with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in New Delhi on Tuesday