MEA confirms India-Pak NSA talks; says focus was on terror

NSA Ajit Doval met Pakistani counterpart in Thailand: MEA

India, Pakistan NSAs held meeting, confirms MEA spokesperson, says talks on terror can go ahead

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "I am agreeing that talks took place".

India on Thursday confirmed that its national security adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval met his Pakistani counterpart Nasser Khan Janjua in Thailand last month. While our position remains that terror and talks cannot go together, we believe talks on terror can definitely go ahead.

"This was a predetermined meeting and the date was decided in advance and it had nothing to do with things that were happening at that time", the Spokesperson said answering a question on whether the two NSAs discussed the issue of Mr Jadhav.

Responding to queries, Kumar sought to de-link the meeting between the NSAs from the stalled India-Pakistan dialogue process and said it was a part of operational level engagement between the two countries.

At the political level, India has maintained that there can not be Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue with Pakistan, after the Pathankot airbase terror attack.

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The Indian Express had also reported that Pakistan has maintained high-level diplomatic contacts with the Indian establishment, even as New Delhi has maintained the rhetoric that terror and talks can not go together.

Bilateral talks between the nuclear-armed neighbours are on the back-burner, with tensions running high over territorial issues and terrorism.

"The dialogue process between India and Pakistan".

Kumar was answering queries about media reports on the meeting between Doval and Janjua in Bangkok Dec. 26 - a day after the mother and wife of retired Naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav met him in Islamabad and were subjected to humiliation by Pakistani authorities and a section of the press. "Some of these meetings are pre-determined". 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.

Asked if the way the two women were treated came up at the NSA talks, he said: "The focus was on terror and cross-border terrorism". That was followed, within days, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise stopover in Lahore, to wish Sharif on his birthday on December 25.

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