Let's find ways of ending cross-border terror, India tells Pakistan

17 August 2016

India on Wednesday said it is willing to discuss ways of tackling terror with Pakistan amidst mayhem unleashed by Pakistan-baked terror groups in Kashmir, including its Pakistan-occupied territory and beyond.

Responding to Pakistan foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry's invitation for talks on Kashmir issue, India foreign secretary S Jaishankar expressed his willingness to visit Islamabad and discuss ways of stopping infiltration of terrorists into the country.

He said cross-border terrorism is fanning unrest in Kashmir and that a resolution of the issue is only way forward for India and Jammu and Kashmir. ''Pakistan has no locus standi in addressing any aspect of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is an internal matter of India,'' he added.

Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale today handed over India's response to pajkistan's invite for talks.

"Since aspects related to cross-border terrorism are central to the current situation in J&K, we have proposed that discussions between the foreign secretaries be focused on them,'' stated an Indian government source according to Indian media.

The ministry of foreign affairs is reviewing India's response.

Pakistan on Monday invited India for talks on Kashmir, saying it is the ''international obligation'' of both the countries to resolve the issue, notwithstanding India's insistence that it would talk on ''contemporary and relevant'' issues in Indo-Pak relations.

''The letter highlights the international obligation of both the countries, India and Pakistan, to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the U.N. Security Council resolutions,'' the statement said.

The invitation was extended amid tension in bilateral ties due to the war of words between the two nations over the issue.

Kashmir has been under curfew since protests erupted over the death last month of a young separatist militant, Burhan Wani, in a gunfight with the security forces.

More than 70 civilians have been killed in clashes between militant protesters and security forces, and thousands more have been injured in the worst violence to hit the Himalayan region since 2010.

Earlier, during his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had thrown open Pakistan's festering Balochistan wound, rattling a neighbour that has been stoking trouble in Jammu and Kashmir ever since partition.

Modi has now thrown open a Pandora's Box that has geopolitical implications and holds the potential of changing the direction of India's foreign policy.

Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province, which has been under Pakistani reprisals for years now, has not received as much international attention as unlike Kashmir, the region, often described as a "black hole", and a "no-go area" for journalists.

On the other hand, Pakistan has always raked up the Kashmir issue globally and spoken about the alleged rights violations in India's only Muslim-majority state.

The restive province, spread over 40 per cent of Pakistan's total land mass but consisting of less than four per cent of its population, has never made global headlines despite activists alleging that security forces have been committing alleged genocide of Balochis to kill their aspirations for a free, sovereign nation.

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