India today blasted Pakistan for scheming with the Hurriyat Conference, the separatist outfit in Kashmir, instead of talking with the Indian government, and made it clear that separatists have no role in India-Pakistan relations and that talks with such elements will not help Pakistan resolve any issues.
There is no place for a third party in relations between India and Pakistan, India clearly told Pakistan after is High Commissioner Abdul Basit invited Hurriyat leaders for a Pakistan Day party at the Pakistan High Commission today.
This is the second time that Pakistan is inviting the separatists for confabulations over the past few months.
"The government of India prefers to speak for itself," external affairs ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.
"Having repeated it on so many occasions there should be no scope for misunderstanding or misrepresenting India's position on the role of the so called Hurriyat.
"Let me reiterate there are only two parties and there is no place for a third party in resolution of India-Pakistan issues," the spokesman said.
India, which last year called off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan after Basit held consultations with Hurriyat leaders on the eve of the official talks, however, is in a strange situation now as reports say that General VK Singh, former army chief and minister of state for foreign affairs, is also attending the Pakistani envoy's dinner.
"I don't think the Indian government has objected (to the invite)... I suggest to media friends not to make an issue out of a non-issue," said the Pakistani envoy this morning.
The MEA spokesperson said "the only way forward to proceed on all outstanding issues is a peaceful bilateral dialogue within the framework of Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said all outstanding issues that stand in the way of normal relations between India and Pakistan can be resolved through bilateral talks only in an atmosphere free from terror and violence,
In a letter to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Pakistan's National Day, the prime minister said he was of the firm resolve that all outstanding issues with Pakistan can be resolved through bilateral dialogue.
"I have written to Pakistan PM Mr Nawaz Sharif, conveying my greetings on the National Day of Pakistan," Modi tweeted.
"It is my firm conviction that all outstanding issues can be resolved through bilateral dialogue in an atmosphere free from terror & violence."
The prime minister's call for terror-free atmosphere on either side of the border comes after two violent terrorist attacks in as many days in Kathua and Samba areas claimed the lives of three persons, including security personnel.
The attack on a police station in Kathua and an Army camp in Samba by terrorists in successive days are believed to have been carried out by Pakistan-backed terrorists.