No third party in Pak talks: Sushma

No third party in Pak talks: Sushma

Foreign minister rules out resumption of cricket ties

No third party in Pak talks: Sushma

India has not flip-flopped on its Pakistan policy, but talks with Islamabad can only happen in a peaceful environment and without the involvement of a third party, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday.

Sushma ruled out resumption of bilateral cricket ties between the two arch-rivals in the immediate future, and made it clear that no official engagement is on the cards between the two nations.

“There is no flip-flop or confusion in the government, which has a very clear Pakistan policy. We decided on three principles for talks when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came here last year. These principles are part of the Shimla and Lahore declarations,” she said at a press conference to highlight the diplomatic achievements of the Narendra Modi government in its first year.

First, each Indo-Pak issues will be resolved through peaceful dialogue. Second, the talks will be between only India and Pakistan.

Neither will a third country mediate nor will there be a third party. The third condition is creation of an atmosphere of harmony by keeping away terror and violence.

“Now if Lakhvi is out and he is released, and if Pakistan thinks there is an atmosphere of harmony, will India accept it?” she said, referring to a Pakistani court's decision to release Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, one of the key accused of 26/11.

Indian investigators have submitted voice samples and other evidence as a proof of Lakhvi's role in the Mumbai terror strike: He was found talking on satellite phones to the 10 terrorists who sailed into Mumbai and attacked some of its famous landmarks.

“Talks can happen only in a peaceful environment. It can happen when Pakistan takes action against terrorists, who are not bound by geographies. There is no good or bad terrorist,” she said, claiming Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first to call up Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after the terror attack on a Peshawar school. Asked about cricketing ties, the minister said no decision had been taken on the resumption of Indo-Pak matches. India have not played a full bilateral Test series with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which led to suspension of their cricketing ties.

On the China-Pakistan nexus, Sushma said while taking up the issue at the global level, China should remember that it, too, was a victim of terrorism. The obvious reference was China putting a “technical hold” on India’s request to list Syed Salahuddin in the UN Security Council sanctions committee on al-Qaeda and associated entities, so the issue could not be taken up for a certain period.

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