Breaking his silence on cancellation of talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India was “disappointed” as Pakistan wanted to make a “spectacle” by meeting separatist leaders.
He, however, said said efforts will continue to build peaceful, friendly and cooperative ties with Pakistan.
He laid ground rules for future talks, saying that “any meaningful bilateral dialogue necessarily requires an environment that is free from terrorism and violence”. In an interaction with the Japanese media, he said “India desires peaceful, friendly and cooperative ties with Pakistan.... India has no hesitation to discuss any outstanding issue with Pakistan within the bilateral framework that has been established under the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration”.
He was responding to queries on cancellation of foreign secretary-level talks which were scheduled for August 25 in Islamabad after Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit had met Kashmiri separatist leaders here prior to that. “We were disappointed that Pakistan sought to make a spectacle of these efforts and went ahead with talks with secessionist elements from Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi just prior to the meeting of the foreign secretaries,” Modi said. At the same time, he said, “We will continue to make efforts to build peaceful, friendly and cooperative ties with Pakistan.” He recalled he had a “good meeting” with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in May 2014, when he attended the swearing-in ceremony of his government here. “We together decided that the foreign secretaries should meet and explore how to take relations forward," he said.