FS-level talks: Ball in Pak’s court, says India

New Delhi, Aug 18 (PTI) India today said the ball was inPakistan’s court on holding Foreign Secretary-level talks asit was for Islamabad to decide on readiness to discuss issuesof cross-border terrorism, vacation of illegal occupation ofparts of Jammu and Kashmir and closing down terror camps. In a response to his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz AhmadChaudhry’s offer for talks on Kashmir, Foreign Secretary SJaishankar said discussions should focus on cessation ofterrorist activities in J&K and ending incitement to violenceand terror in the Valley. Briefing reporters, MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup saidJaishankar conveyed that he accepts his counterpart’sinvitation to visit Islamabad but made it clear thediscussions should focus first on the pressing aspects ofthe J&K situation flagged by him. "In a letter dated August 16, Foreign Secretary hasfirst of all underlined that Pakistan’s self-servingallegations made in their communication are rejected in theirentirety by the Government of India. Pakistan has no locusstandi in respect of J&K, which is an integral part of ournation," said Swarup. Deliberations should also focus on denying safe haven,shelters and support to terrorists in Pakistan who haveescaped Indian law, Jaishankar said in his letter. "The ball is in Pakistan’s court now. They had made anoffer, We have responded to the offer. It is up to them tocarry it forward," said Swarup. The response also conveyed that detaining and prosecutinginternationally recognised Pakistani terrorist leaders whohave been publicly active in exhorting and supporting suchviolence in that state should be part of the talks besidesclosing down terrorist training camps, Swarup added. The Foreign Secretary said he looked forward to discussingwith his Pakistani counterpart the "earliest possible vacationof Pakistan’s illegal occupation of the Indian state of J&K". In his letter, the Foreign Secretary also underlined theimportance of bringing to justice all those guilty in Pakistanfor the attacks in Mumbai and at Pathankot airbase. "He said that his visit should provide the opportunity toreceive a briefing from Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary onprogress in this regard," said Swarup. MORE PTI MPB PYKSK

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