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No offer of talks made to Pak, dialogue only in atmosphere free from terror: Govt tells Parliament

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on whether Pakistan has repeatedly rejected the offer of talks made to it, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said no such offer was made by India.

Reported by: PTI, New Delhi [ Published on: July 19, 2018 23:12 IST ]

No offer of talks made to Pak, dialogue only in atmosphere free from terror: Govt tells Parliament

The government today said it has made no offer of talks to Pakistan and asserted that any meaningful dialogue with that country can be held only in a terror-free atmosphere.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on whether Pakistan has repeatedly rejected the offer of talks made to it, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said no such offer was made by India.

"Continued cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan remains a core concern for us. India has repeatedly called upon Pakistan to abide by its commitment not to allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India in any manner," he said.

"Pakistan has also been asked to take effective actions to end terrorism and dismantle terrorist sanctuaries and infrastructure on the territory under its control. Until such time, India will continue to take firm and decisive steps to respond to cross-border terrorism," he said.

The minister said the government has clear and consistent position that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan, and is committed to addressing all outstanding issues bilaterally and peacefully in accordance with the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration.

"However, any meaningful dialogue can be held only in an atmosphere free from terror, hostility and violence. The onus is on Pakistan to create such a conducive atmosphere," he said.

To another question on whether India had asked Pakistan to vacate areas occupied in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said India's consistent and principled position, as also enunciated in the 1994 Parliament resolution adopted unanimously, is that entire Jammu and Kashmir has been, is, and shall be an integral part of India.

"We have repeatedly and consistently called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation. Pakistan continues to be in illegal and forcible occupation of a part of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

Responding to a separate question on whether Pakistan had denied access to the Indian envoy in Islamabad and consular officials to visit Gurudwara Panja Sahib to meet visiting Indian pilgrims, Singh said they were not given entry into the gurdwara despite travel permissions having been granted by the Pakistan's Foreign Ministry.

A strong protest was lodged with the High Commission of Pakistan here and and the Pakistani Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, he said.

"It was conveyed that preventing the Indian High Commission officials from discharging their consular responsibilities was in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 and the spirit of the Bilateral Protocol on visit to religious shrines of 1974," Singh said.

He said Pakistan's claim that the Indian pilgrims declined to meet the High Commission officials was categorically refuted.

"It was conveyed to Pakistan that the Indian organisers, Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), have expressed grave concern and dismay that Indian High Commissioner and the High Commission officials were denied access despite the visiting pilgrims from India having asked Pakistan organisers to facilitate a meeting with them," he said.

On another question if China has proposed a trilateral summit with India and Pakistan, Singh answered in the negative.

To a question on India's membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, he said the US and France continue to strongly support it and the government is engaged with all NSG members including China. 

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