No clarity on FS talks, Pakistan’s envoy’s remarks fuel confusion

india-pakistan talks

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s comments on the suspension of the peace process with India has accentuated confusion, with Pakistan’s foreign ministry clarifying that the two sides are working out the modalities for reviving engagement. The Pakistani envoy’s remarks has not played down well with New Delhi. India pointed out the statement by Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria which said: “Your question implies whether the Foreign Secretary-level talks will take place or not. I have stated this many times that both countries are in contact with each other and it has been reiterated from both sides that modalities are being worked out. I will again state that negotiations are the best means to resolve the issues.” Zakaria also said, “I have read the statement of the Indian Foreign Secretary you are referring to and in that also there was an indication that the talks would take place.”

India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup added that the visit of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) team to Pakistan was on the basis of reciprocity, previously agreed upon. Mr Basit had, however, ruled out a reciprocal visit by the NIA to Pakistan to probe the Pathankot attack. “The investigation (into the Pathankot attack) is not about reciprocity,” he said. Reacting to his remarks the Indian government said, “Before the visit of the JIT, the Indian High Commission formally conveyed to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry that the Terms of Reference are broadly agreed to with the proviso that these would be on the basis of reciprocity and followed in accordance with extant legal provisions.”

After the Pakistani Joint Investigating Team visited Pathankot to probe the involvement of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar in the January 2terror attack, India was expecting Islamabad to allow the NIA to visit that country to take the investigation forward.

The Pakistani spokesperson had also mentioned that Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar too had indicated in a recent statement that talks would take place.

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