India calls for return to peace on border for talks
Maintaining that "unprovoked incidents" of ceasefire violations by Pakistan were not conducive to holding peaceful dialogue, India Tuesday called for a return to peace and tranquility on the border.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the incidents of firing on the Line of Control that divide Kashmir between the two countries had led to a "sense of disappointment" and both sides needed to "get back to normal".
Addressing reporters on the sidelines of a function here, Khurshid said "there has to be peace and tranquility on the border. Ceasefire should not be violated. We are still in a sense of shock."
Five Indian soldiers were killed in Poonch on the LoC by Pakistani troopers last week, triggering anger in India and calls by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to call off talks with Islamabad.
In a briefing, the external affairs ministry spokesperson said the "current environment" of "unprovoked incidents on the LoC" does not fit into an atmosphere for holding peaceful dialogue with Pakistan but said a call would be taken at the appropriate time.
Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said "upholding the sanctity of the LoC is one of the most important CBMs between the two countries".
To a question of whether India would go ahead with secretary-level talks with Pakistan that are due to be held, Akbaruddin said India has received a proposal last month from Pakistan for this.
"But for a peaceful dialogue to proceed we need an environment free of violence and terror, and what has happened last week does not fit into that," the spokesperson said, but added immediately that no timeline had been set for the talks to be held.
"We will factor in all subsequent developments, and we will take a call on it in due time and well ahead of what is required to be responded to," he said.
India and Pakistan are to hold talks on Sir Creek, a 96-km strip of water that is disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands in Gujarat, and the Wullar Barrage built on Jhelum river in Jammu and Kashmir, which Pakistan has protested against.
The spokesperson tactfully ducked a question on whether the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif would be held in New York.
He said the meeting, scheduled to be held in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, was "quite a distance away" and counselled journalists to be patient.
Akbaruddin said India is "committed to to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through peaceful bilateral dialogue in an environment free of violence and terror".
The spokesperson said India expects Pakistan "to abide by its publicly stated commitment not to allow its territory or territory under its control to be allowed for terrorism against India and also looks forward to determine the action being taken to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and network, as well as tangible movements to quickly bring to justice those involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
(Posted on 13-08-2013)