Confirming for the first time that NSA Ajit Doval met his Pakistan counterpart Nasir Janjua in Bangkok in December, India said while terror and talks cannot go together, talks on terror can definitely carry on - a formulation that keeps the window for engagement open.
The Government feels that though terror and talks (Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue) can not go together, it will not mind discussing issues pertaining to terrorism through various mechanisms.
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Asserting that talks on terror with Pakistan can definitely go ahead, provided it denounces terror, the Ministry of External Affairs today confirmed that an NSA level talks between the two nations took place last month. "We, of course, raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in those discussions". "Some of these meetings are pre-determined".
A year ago too, there was no movement on India-Pakistan talks though in December, The Indian Express reported that Doval had met his counterpart in Thailand.
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India has introduced some nuance rephrasing in its lexicon on engaging Pakistan on terror issues. MEA also confirmed an earlier report of a "secret meeting" between the NSAs of the two countries. "Talks and terror cannot go together but talks on terror can go ahead", externalaffairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
The meeting between the two NSAs was in line with the understanding reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2015, on the sidelines of the Climate Change summit in Paris, that "contacts need to be maintained". In December 2015, the two NSAs, along with the two foreign secretaries, had met, again in Bangkok, which was not revealed till after the meeting. "However, there are other dialogue mechanisms like at the DGMO (Directors General of Military Operations) level or between the BSF (Border Security Force) and Pakistan Rangers", Kumar told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday. There have been occasional telephonic engagements after that. A day later, a Pakistani daily, quoting an unnamed Pakistani official, also reported about the meeting.
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