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Welcome to NSA talks, but don't involve any ,third party: Sushma Swaraj tells Pakistan

New Delhi/Islamabad, August 22 (RDI IBNS) Hours after Islamabad cleared that it is ready to take part in the NSA-level talks without any pre-conditions, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday welcomed Pakistani National Security Advisor Sartaz Aziz to New Delhi with a rider that "Hurriyat or any third party" will be involved.

If they are willing to come, we welcome them but we want assurance from Pakistan that talks will only be on terror and the NSA will not meet the Hurriyat, Swaraj told a press conference. Her message puts ball back in Paks court as both sides refuse to be labelled as a party to have caused cancellation of the talks, scheduled to begin on Sunday, but hanging on balance following a storm over Pak invitation to Kashmiri separatist leaders. Two-and-a-half hours before, Aziz met the media in Islamabad accusing India of failing to recognise Kashmir as the most outstanding issue, while insisting that K-word was very much there on the Ufa statement issued following a meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries last month. But refuting Pakistans claim, Swaraj said in Ufa, ther was no discusesion on the composite or Resumed Dialogues which can take up multiple related issues for discussions. Quoting Mr Aziz, all outstanding issues including Jammu and Kahmir, was a part of the Composite Dialogue, now a part of the Resumed Dialogue. This was not taken up during the Ufa meeting, she said. Every talk with Pakistan can not be called dialogue.The composite dialogue between the two countries was started in 1998 during Vajpayee Jis government which eight components/wings. Vajpayee Ji had invited General Musharraf. But Pakistan refused to talk on the composite dialogue but only talk on Kashmir, she said. Swaraj said During Ufa talks three meetings were decided to be held-one of NSA-level, one of DGs of the two countries and another of the DGMOs. When this agreement was reached in Ufa and the Parakistan PM reached back to Pakistan, he was severely criticised for his dialogue with India. So he decided to do something to compel the NSA-level talks to be cancelled, she said. We had sent an invitation letter to Pakistan on July 24, a day after the Ufa meeting that the NSA-level meeting will be held in New Delhi on August 23. Swaraj also made clear that terror and talks can not go hand in hand while pointing at the recent terror attacks in Punjabs Gurdaspur and Udhampur of Jammu and Kashmir. In both the incidents alleged Pakistani nationals were involved, while one terrorist, said to be hailing from Faisalabad, was caught alive in Udhampur. We were under immense pressure to cancel the talks, but we said that such acts of terrorism necessitates us to have the talks with Pakistan, the External Affairs Minister said. To answer Mr Aziz who is saying that India wants to run from the discussion, I want to say this through the medium of this press conference that India is trying to create an environment to resume the dialogue between the two countries, Swaraj said. Earlier, Pakistans NSA Sartaz Aziz Said in Islamabad that since Narnedra Modi came to power as Prime Minister, India refuses to recognise Kashmir issue as the most important issue and so, Pakistan wants to discuss the modalities of Kashmir issue. Aziz also blamed India for the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), and claimed that Pak soldiers open fire only in self defence. His words reaffirmed Islamabads already declared stand that Pakistan will not surrender on those fronts. However, Aziz, said, Pakistan is ready to hold talks without any pre-condition, indicating a last-minute flexibility on Islamabads part. Aziz is scheduled for a meeting with Indias National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in New Delhi on Sunday and Monday. In New Delhi, Doval met PM Narendra Modi and briefed him about the situation. Tension in the relation between the two countries refused to die down with both sides hardening their respective stands amid exchange of tough words. Meanwhile, Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah was detained at Delhi airport by police on his arrival at the invitation of Sartaz Aziz prior to the NSA-level talks between the two countries. On Thursday morning, three Kashmiri separatists were placed under house arrest in Srinagar but were released within two hours. The separatists, Yasin Malik, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, have been invited to a reception in Delhi for Pakistan National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz,. India called off talks last July after Pakistan consulted Kashmiri separatists before a meeting of Foreign Secretaries. However, the thaw was broken a year later when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif met on the sidelines of a conference in Ufa, Russia, and agreed to restart dialogues.

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