National security advisors of India and Pakistan have held bilateral talks that focused on cross-border terrorism, a foreign ministry spokesperson in New Delhi confirmed Thursday.
The statement by India comes days after media reports that NSAs Ajit Doval and retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua held a “secret” meeting in Thailand on December 27.
“Talks and terror cannot go together but talks on terror can go ahead,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
“I am agreeing that talks took place and our issue was eliminating terrorism from the region. We of course raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in those talks,” he said.
Bilateral talks between the nuclear-armed neighbours are on the back-burner, with tensions running high over territorial issues and terrorism.
India accuses Pakistan-based groups of orchestrating several terror attacks on its soil, especially in the conflict-ridden Kashmir valley. Repeated ceasefire violations and casualties on both sides have added to the tension.
Ties hit another roadblock when New Delhi alleged that Pakistan disregarded cultural and religious sensibilities of family members of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was captured in March 2016 and has been sentenced to death by a military court.
While Pakistan termed its decision to allow Jadhav’s family to travel to Islamabad to meet him in December as a humanitarian gesture, India said the neighbour violating mutual understandings, asserting that the Indian national appeared coerced and under considerable stress during the tightly — controlled interaction.
New Delhi says Jadhav was kidnapped in Iran where he had legitimate business interests, and brought to Pakistan. To save Jadhav, India moved the International Court of Justice, which ordered Pakistan in May to stay his execution.