Play on words over NSA talks


"India and Pakistan have a dialogue process and we have said terror and talks can not go together".

This was the response of Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on a recent "secret" meeting between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Nasser Khan Janjua in Bangkok.

Modi also visited Pakistan in a surprise stopover on 25 December, 2015, on his way back from Russian Federation and Afghanistan.

"Yes, I agree talks took place". The Government on Thursday said "though terror and talks cannot go together, talks on terror can definitely go on". While our position remains that terror and talks cannot go together, we believe talks on terror can definitely go ahead.

The news of the meeting, reported by an Indian newspaper and confirmed by a member of Pakistan's National Security Council, had left the Narendra Modi government red-faced as it came in the middle of a war of words over the way Islamabad had treated death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav's mother and wife. But apart from that, there are other dialogue mechanisms that take place between India and Pakistan like talks at Director General of Military Operations level talks between the Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers, there is a regular mechanism.

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The spokesperson de-coupled the meeting between the NSAs and the stalled India-Pakistan dialogue process and said it was a part of operational-level engagement between the two countries. "Some of these meetings are pre-determined".

NSAs of both the sides had held a "secret" meeting in Thailand on December 27 a year ago.

In fact, the two NSAs spoke shortly after the Pathankot attack in January 2016.

India accuses Pakistan-based groups of orchestrating several terror attacks on its soil, especially in the conflict-ridden Kashmir valley. "Likewise, talks between NSAs is a part of operational level talks". This was followed by a visit to Pakistan by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj for a conference on Afghanistan in December 2015. He was told the meeting was useful and said it might help in restarting some sort of engagement at the diplomatic level as well, the report said.