Islamabad, June 29:
Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday accused India of “avoiding” a dialogue with Pakistan as it would mean having to negotiate issues like Kashmir.
Contradicting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement in which he placed the onus of the stalled bilateral talks on Pakistan, Aziz asserted that Pakistan was not refraining from talks with its neighbour.
He said Pakistan had plans for extensive talks with India on issues such as Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, economic cooperation, trade, visas and the detaining of fishermen, among others.
According to a Radio Pakistan report, Aziz went on to say that the Indian Army had rejected an earlier agreement regarding Siachen between the two governments, as they had “stakes” in the glacier.
The adviser had earlier said he was doubtful of progress towards normalisation of ties, and suggested that the situation be managed to prevent tensions.
In a recent TV interview, Modi had said that due to his diplomatic efforts, the world had seen that India was not reluctant to engage with Pakistan.
“Our approach has created difficulties for Pakistan, and they find it hard to respond on the matter in the international community,” said Modi.
Modi claimed there are “different types of forces operating in Pakistan”, and asked rhetorically if one has to draw a line or set conditions for dialogue, will it be “with the elected government or other actors?”
After Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan in December last year, the Pakistani and Indian foreign secretaries were scheduled to meet to discuss modalities regarding the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.
The dialogue was to take on matters related to peace and security, Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Tulbul Navigation Project, economic and commercial cooperation, counter-terrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian issues, people to people exchanges and religious tourism.
However, an attack on the Pathankot air force base in India on January 2 by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohamed terrorists, in which seven Indian security personnel were killed, has led to the talks seeing virtually no progress.
The two Foreign Secretaries met in New Delhi in April on the sidelines of a Heart of Asia senior officials meet, but nothing tangible came out of it. (IANS)