India and Pakistan today indulged in some plain speaking on bilateral issues with the neighbouring country being firmly asked not to be in denial over the impact of terrorism on bilateral ties while Pakistan harped on Kashmir terming it as the core issue.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry met for nearly 90 minutes during which sticky issues including probe into Pathankot terror attack, 26/11 trial and Samjhauta Express blast investigations figured.
Today’s meeting between Jaishankar and Chaudhry, who is primarily here to attend the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference, was the first formal interaction since their scheduled talks were deferred in the wake of the Pathankot attack in January.
During the meeting, India raised the issue of “abduction” of former Naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, saying he has been taken to Pakistan, and sought immediate consular access. This is for the first time India has categorically said Jadhav was abducted.
However, in its statement, Pakistan said it has raised “capturing” of Jadhav and expressed serious concern over RAW’s alleged involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi, a charge which was srongly rebutted by India.
“India’s Foreign Secretary emphasised the need for early and visible progress on the Pathankot terrorist attack investigation as well as the Mumbai case trial in Pakistan. He also brought up the listing of JeM leader Masood Azhar in the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee.
“Foreign Secretary Jaishankar clearly conveyed that Pakistan cannot be in denial on the impact of terrorism on the bilateral relationship. Terrorist groups based in Pakistan targeting India must not be allowed to operate with impunity,” a statement by the External Affairs Ministry said after the talks.
On its part, the Pakistani statement said Chaudhry brought up the issue of Kashmir emphasising that it remained the “core issue that requires a just solution in accordance with UNSC resolutions and wishes of Kashmiri people.”
Interestingly, the Pakistani side released the talking points while the meeting between the two foreign secretaries was still on.