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Axing NSA-level talks by Pak unfortunate: Rajnath

By The Assam Tribune
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New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS): Union Home Minister Rajanth Singh said on Sunday that Pakistan's decision to call off the NSA-level talks was "unfortunate" as India wanted them to be held for better bilateral ties.

"It is unfortunate that Pakistan has called off the talks. India wanted to have talks," the Minister told reporters here.

Rajnath Singh said Kashmir was never on the agenda of the proposed meeting between National Security Advisers Sartaj Aziz of Pakistan and Ajit Doval of India. "Ye agenda pehle kyun nahi tey karliya? Ye (Kashmir) toh mudda kabhi thaa nahi. (They should have fixed the agenda beforehand. Kashmir was never on the talks agenda)," he said. "India wants to have good relations with its neighbours," he added.

In a Saturday night statement, Pakistan said it had concluded that the NSA talks would not serve any purpose if conducted on the basis of the two conditions laid down by India.

In reply, India's External Affairs Ministry said: "Pakistan's decision is unfortunate. India did not set any preconditions... We only reiterated that Pakistan respect the spirit of the Shimla and Ufa (Russia) agreements."

No point talking to Pakistan, says Yashwant Sinha: India should not engage with Pakistan unless it is "absolutely certain" about the outcome, former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said on Sunday.

"We should not engage with Pakistan unless you are absolutely certain of the outcome... I repeatedly tell (this to) my interlocutors with all my experience in dealing with Pakistan," Sinha told CNN-IBN.

He said he had come to the conclusion that engagement with Pakistan leading to a positive result was just not possible.

The BJP leader said that not talking to Pakistan won't lead to war. "The immediate consequence of not talking to Pakistan is not going to be a war with Pakistan. Certainly not a nuclear war.

"I hold the view that there is a big space between not talking and war. India and Pakistan can live in that space. The only problem is Pakistan indulges in cross-border terrorism of which there is enough evidence."

He also accused Pakistan of being in a state of denial. "For everything Pakistan blames India. For every argument that we will advance, they will have a counter argument. For every dossier, they will have a counter dossier.

"So it is not possible to talk with Pakistan. Because Pakistan is in a constant state of denial and will not accept any allegation even that 'jinda saboot' our External Affairs Minister talked about," Sinha said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday said Pakistan was running away from the talks as India had caught a Pakistani terrorist after the Udhampur terrror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sinha said: "Pakistan has a habit of going back the next day on every written agreement that we arrive at.

"Pakistan misinterpreted the Shimla Agreement, also ignored the January 2006 joint statement. They are misinterpreting Ufa, which clearly says NSA-level talks will be on all aspects of terrorism. I'm entirely with the government."

The NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan were called off on Saturday as Islamabad insisted it take up the "core" issue of Kashmir. India said Islamabad must abide by the agenda agreed to at Ufa, Russia, and only discuss terrorism.

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Axing NSA-level talks by Pak unfortunate: Rajnath

New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS): Union Home Minister Rajanth Singh said on Sunday that Pakistan's decision to call off the NSA-level talks was "unfortunate" as India wanted them to be held for better bilateral ties.

"It is unfortunate that Pakistan has called off the talks. India wanted to have talks," the Minister told reporters here.

Rajnath Singh said Kashmir was never on the agenda of the proposed meeting between National Security Advisers Sartaj Aziz of Pakistan and Ajit Doval of India. "Ye agenda pehle kyun nahi tey karliya? Ye (Kashmir) toh mudda kabhi thaa nahi. (They should have fixed the agenda beforehand. Kashmir was never on the talks agenda)," he said. "India wants to have good relations with its neighbours," he added.

In a Saturday night statement, Pakistan said it had concluded that the NSA talks would not serve any purpose if conducted on the basis of the two conditions laid down by India.

In reply, India's External Affairs Ministry said: "Pakistan's decision is unfortunate. India did not set any preconditions... We only reiterated that Pakistan respect the spirit of the Shimla and Ufa (Russia) agreements."

No point talking to Pakistan, says Yashwant Sinha: India should not engage with Pakistan unless it is "absolutely certain" about the outcome, former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said on Sunday.

"We should not engage with Pakistan unless you are absolutely certain of the outcome... I repeatedly tell (this to) my interlocutors with all my experience in dealing with Pakistan," Sinha told CNN-IBN.

He said he had come to the conclusion that engagement with Pakistan leading to a positive result was just not possible.

The BJP leader said that not talking to Pakistan won't lead to war. "The immediate consequence of not talking to Pakistan is not going to be a war with Pakistan. Certainly not a nuclear war.

"I hold the view that there is a big space between not talking and war. India and Pakistan can live in that space. The only problem is Pakistan indulges in cross-border terrorism of which there is enough evidence."

He also accused Pakistan of being in a state of denial. "For everything Pakistan blames India. For every argument that we will advance, they will have a counter argument. For every dossier, they will have a counter dossier.

"So it is not possible to talk with Pakistan. Because Pakistan is in a constant state of denial and will not accept any allegation even that 'jinda saboot' our External Affairs Minister talked about," Sinha said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday said Pakistan was running away from the talks as India had caught a Pakistani terrorist after the Udhampur terrror attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sinha said: "Pakistan has a habit of going back the next day on every written agreement that we arrive at.

"Pakistan misinterpreted the Shimla Agreement, also ignored the January 2006 joint statement. They are misinterpreting Ufa, which clearly says NSA-level talks will be on all aspects of terrorism. I'm entirely with the government."

The NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan were called off on Saturday as Islamabad insisted it take up the "core" issue of Kashmir. India said Islamabad must abide by the agenda agreed to at Ufa, Russia, and only discuss terrorism.