New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) While not discounting bilateral talks, India made clear Tuesday that the “current environment” of “unprovoked incidents on the LoC” does not fit into an atmosphere for holding peaceful dialogue with Pakistan but said that a call would be taken at the appropriate time.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India welcomes Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s articulation of seeking good ties with India, but stressed that “unprovoked incidents on the LoC (Line of Control) have consequences for bilateral relations” and that “upholding the sanctity of the LoC is one of the most important CBMs between the two countries”.
“For us, it is vital to uphold the sanctity of the LoC,” he said.
To a question of whether India would go ahead with secretary-level talks with Pakistan that are due to be held, Akbaruddin said that India has received a proposal last month from Pakistan for this.
“But for a peaceful dialogue to proceed we need an environment free of violence and terror, and what has happened last week does not fit into that,” the spokesperson said, but added immediately that no timeline had been set for the talks to be held.
“We will factor in all subsequent developments, and we will take a call on it in due time and well ahead of what is required to be responded to,” he said.
India and Pakistan are to hold talks on Sir Creek, a 96-km strip of water that is disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands in Gujarat, and the Wullar Barrage built on Jhelum river in Jammu and Kashmir, which Pakistan has protested against.
The spokesperson tactfully ducked a question on whether the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sharif would be held in New York.
He said the meeting, scheduled to be held in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, was “quite a distance away” and counselled journalists to be patient.
In a border flare-up, Pakistani troops last week killed five Indian soldiers on the LoC, which divides Kashmir between the two countries, triggering anger in the country and calls by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party to call off talks.
Akbaruddin said India is “committed to to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through peaceful bilateral dialogue in an environment free of violence and terror”.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in an interview to a TV channel, has called for a “new beginning” in ties with India so that all outstanding issues can be settled in a “friendly manner”.
“Let us make a new beginning. Let us sit together to resolve all outstanding issues in a friendly manner and in a peaceful atmosphere,” Sharif said.
“We must become good friends. Hold each other’s hands. We must sit together with a open and clean heart,” he was quoted as saying.
The spokesperson said India expects Pakistan “to abide by its publicly stated commitment not to allow its territory or territory under its control to be allowed for terrorism against India and also looks forward to determine the action being taken to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and network, as well as tangible movements to quickly bring to justice those involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.