Home / Politics / Policy /  Pakistan not ‘serious’ about dialogue offer: India

New Delhi: India on Friday slammed recent comments by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan that the Indian government was unresponsive to his peace overtures, saying Islamabad’s offers for dialogue was not serious given its actions that included attempts to mainstream terrorist groups operating from its soil.

At a foreign ministry briefing, spokesman Raveesh Kumar cited instances of Pakistani ministers meeting “proscribed terrorists" and expressing support for them. India’s sharp comments were in response to Khan’s remarks in an interview to a Turkish media group earlier this week, where he said India was not responding to his many efforts at starting a peace dialogue.

Kumar also responded to questions on Afghanistan and whether India had changed its policy vis a vis talks with the Taliban against the backdrop of Indian army chief Bipin Rawat’s comments this week that India should consider talks with the group in control of large swathes of the war-torn country. Rawat’s comments coincided with a visit of US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad to New Delhi for talks on the Afghan reconciliation process amid reports of an American troop withdrawal from the country.

In his comments on Pakistan, Kumar posed a series of questions to Khan and his government noting that even before Khan was sworn in as the prime minister in August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called him and congratulated him on his election win.

“When they say they are ready for talks, then why do their ministers share platform with internationally designated terrorists. There have been many instances in the past few months when their ministers have shared a platform with such people," Kumar asked citing at least two instances — one in which Pakistan’s religious affairs minister Noor-ul-Haq Qadri was seen sharing a public platform with Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed on 30 September where both Qadri and Saeed made “vitriolic" anti-India statements. In the second instance, in December, Pakistan’s interior minister met representatives of the JuD terrorist organisation and openly pledged support to them, Kumar said.

“If Pakistan is ready for talks then why no action has been taken against terrorists involved in the (2008) Mumbai and (January 2016) Pathankot terrorist attacks," he said, adding, organisations such as the JuD and its charity front, the Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), were no longer on the list of proscribed organisations after an Ordinance banning them lapsed.

“It is clear that the explicit support that banned organisations used to get from Pakistan is still continuing. There has been no change in that," Kumar said. The more serious matter was that of the Pakistan government trying to mainstream terrorist organisations, he said. “So this statement that they want to have talks, there is no seriousness in it and it should be backed up by some action," Kumar said.

On another comment from Khan on the treatment of minorities in India, Kumar said, “Pakistan should be the last country in the world to lecture us on the topic of plurality and inclusive society. We and the world are fully aware how the minorities are treated in their country."

On US envoy Khalilzad’s visit, Kumar said India and the US “shared perspectives on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. Khalilzad briefed Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale on how the US was trying to achieve peace and reconciliation in the country. From our perspective, we made it very clear that peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan should be Afghan owned, Afghan led and Afghan controlled," Kumar said.

On Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, Kumar said India had time and again articulated “the destabilising role played in Afghanistan."

On talks with the Taliban, Kumar said India’s position was “very clear and consistent."

“We have said in the past that we support the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. We have also said that we support the process which is inclusive in achieving this goal."

Addressing a press conference on Thursday ahead of the Indian army’s 71st raising day, Rawat had said: “Many (countries) are engaging with Taliban for having peace. We should engage unconditionally to the extent of having a sense as to what is happening. India has contributed immensely to peace in Afghanistan and plans to do so."

“We have interests in Afghanistan. We can’t be out of the bandwagon," he said.

Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our App Now!!

Edit Profile
My ReadsRedeem a Gift CardLogout