Escalating tensions: Fate of Indo-Pak peace talks hangs in the balance

New Delhi has not yet fixed a date for meeting of national security advisers

Kamran Yousaf July 20, 2015
New Delhi has not yet fixed a date for meeting of national security advisers. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Rising tension on the borders has thrown the fate of crucial talks between the national security advisers of Pakistan and India in the doldrums with New Delhi reluctant to fix a date for the meeting.

During a recent meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in the Russian city of Ufa, the two leaders had agreed to a meeting of their security advisers in New Delhi to discuss issues related to terrorism.

However, renewed tensions along the Line of Control in Kashmir and the working boundary in Sialkot, as well as the intrusion of an Indian ‘spy’ drone into Pakistani territory, may lead to the postponement of the crucial talks, a senior government official believes.

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Four people have been killed by the firing of Indian border security forces on civilian populations on the Pakistani side in recent days. Five more have been left injured by the unprovoked attacks.

On Monday, a team of United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) visited the villages most affected by Indian shelling. They visited Saleh Pur, Chaprar & Malane in Chaprar Sector in Sialkot and met wounded civilians and witnessed Indian atrocities on the civil population.

According to the understanding reached in Ufa, Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz would travel to New Delhi for talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, who would then make a reciprocal visit to Islamabad.

When contacted Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah said: “As of now I have no dates for the meeting.” Another Foreign Office official said Islamabad would raise the issue of Indian involvement in the internal affairs of the country when the advisers meet. Premier Nawaz during the meeting in Russia had conveyed to Modi Pakistan’s concerns over Indian intelligence agencies’ involvement in fomenting violence, he added.

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The official said Islamabad had ‘compelling evidence’ to prove that India’s prime secret agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was whipping up terrorism in Pakistan. He added that the alleged nexus between RAW and the Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement would also be taken up with India in the talks.

At a news conference last week, Sartaj Aziz confirmed that the premier had frank discussions with Modi about India’s involvement in the internal matters of Pakistan. “Pakistan has been deeply concerned not only about hostile statements from Indian ministers but also about Indian interference in Pakistan, including continuing support for insurgency in Balochistan,” he had said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2015. 

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