Talks on terror can go with Pak

MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar

Despite its position that there can not be any substantive dialogue with Pakistan until Islamabad acts against India-specific terror groups, the government has continued to maintain contact through its mission in Islamabad and also the Pakistan mission here.

Raveesh Kumar, the spoksperson of the Ministry of External Afairs, told reporters that the focus of the "operational-level talks" was "cross-border terror" and ways to ensure the elimination of terrorism from the region. "We of course raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in those talks", he said. Following this, the FATF will discuss Islamabad's attempts to counter terrorist financing, said the ET report.

"I am agreeing that talks took place and our issue was eliminating terrorism from the region". This is the second time in two years the two NSA met in Bangkok, the last time being in December 2015.

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"We have said terror and talks can't go together but talks on terror can definitely go ahead", he opined.

When this question was posed to Kumar at the regular MEA briefing, the spokesperson said dates of such meetings are fixed days in advance. 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 very fact that the two NSAs had to meet in Bangkok bears testimony to this. There have been occasional telephonic engagements after that. However, the mood for CBD is built up following similar NSA talks in 2015.

Nevertheless, the talks indicate that New Delhi - while realising the reality of the Pakistan Army and ISI actively sponsoring terror in India - are also in favour of continuing some sort of engagement quietly with Pakistan.

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