NSAs met, Indo-Pak talks are happening, admits MEA

MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar

MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar

"India and Pakistan have a dialogue process and we have said terror and talks can not go together. I think we raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in those talks", External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

Bilateral talks between the nuclear-armed neighbours are on the back-burner, with tensions running high over territorial issues and terrorism. This will take the wind out of Pakistan's attempts to blame India on worldwide platforms for avoiding talks to de-escalate border tension.

He said India has been maintaining that terror and talks cannot go together, but talks on terror can definitely go ahead.

"We of course raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in those talks", added the MEA spokesperson.

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He also appeared to borrow a leaf out of Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu's book with a play of words, saying: "We have said that "terror and talks" cannot go together but "talks on terror" can definitely go ahead".

The statement by India comes days after media reports that NSAs Ajit Doval and retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua held a "secret" meeting in Thailand on December 27. Raveesh made it clear that the meeting date of the NSAs was pre-decided.

"Their (Russia's and America's) support has ensured that (the) FATF, at its plenary meeting on November 2, 2017, called upon Pakistan to report on the action being taken to curb terror financing, especially in respect of the proscribed entities and individuals", the ministry of external affairs (MEA) wrote to a parliamentary panel recently.

"The dialogue process between India and Pakistan. However, there are other dialogue mechanisms like at the DGMO (Directors General of Military Operations) level or between the BSF (Border Security Force) and Pakistan Rangers", Kumar told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday.

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

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

In addition, the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries have talked as and when need arise, though the formal FS-level talks, which were precursor to the CBD, too have been put on abeyance. However, the mood for CBD is built up following similar NSA talks in 2015.

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