India gets tough, says talks and terror don't go together

India gets tough, says talks and terror don't go together

"I am agreeing that talks took place and our issue was eliminating terrorism from the region".

"We raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in those talks because our main issue is how to ensure the safety of our region from the scourge of cross-border terrorism".

THE GOVERNMENT on Thursday confirmed that National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval met his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua (retd) as part of "operational-level talks", and stressed that "talks on terror can definitely go ahead".

India has introduced some nuance rephrasing in its lexicon on engaging Pakistan on terror issues. This will take the wind out of Pakistan's attempts to blame India on worldwide platforms for avoiding talks to de-escalate border tension.

"Similarly, the NSA-level engagement is part of operational-level talks".

Doval, the MEA official said, had also raised the issue of cross-border terrorism with his Janjua.

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He said while India believed that "terror and talks cannot go together but talks on terror can definitely go ahead".

National security advisors of India and Pakistan held a "secret" meeting in Thailand, a senior Pakistani official said on January 1.

The "talks on terror" model to engage Pakistan is a break in India's position that India had taken following the attack on the Pathankot airbase when New Delhi had cancelled the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD). Raveesh made it clear that the meeting date of the NSAs was pre-decided.

However, the two countries hold regular meetings and talks between the Director Generals of Military Operations, Director Generals of Border Security Force-Pakistan Rangers, Indus Water Commissioners and the NSAs.

The confirmation of the NSA-level engagement comes nearly two weeks after news reports said the two NSAs had met in Thailand. That was followed, within days, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise stopover in Lahore, to wish Sharif on his birthday on December 25. In December 2015, the two NSAs, along with the two foreign secretaries, had met, again in Bangkok, which was not revealed till after the meeting.

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