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Ready for talks if Pakistan ensures peaceful atmosphere: India

NEW DELHI: India is ready for talks with Pakistan provided the latter ensures a peaceful atmosphere, said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Vikas Swarup, on Friday.

Swarup was addressing reporters in New Delhi in a weekly news conference.

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“We have never refused talks, but Pakistan has to ensure a peaceful atmosphere so that there is a fruitful outcome. We are seeing an environment where militancy is regularly taking place. There are repeated incidents of cross border firing and infiltration attempts every day. They are attacking our soldiers and in such an environment how can the two countries talk?” he asked.

The statement came days after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said during his visit to Bosnia that his country wanted an amicable settlement of issues with India.

India and Pakistan have been at odds over Kashmir ever since their independence nearly 70 years ago, fighting two of their three wars over the Himalayan region that they each rule in part but claim in full.

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The latest round of problem between the nuclear armed neighbours began with civil unrest in Indian Kashmir and Pakistan’s global lobbying against New Delhi’s crackdown on the Kashmiri activists.

Artillery duels and skirmishing along the disputed frontier between India and Pakistan, which runs through Kashmir, has intensified leading to the deaths of civilians and soldiers stationed along both sides.

Swarup said it was a prerequisite for Pakistan to shun violence of any sort for bilateral discussions.

“Pakistan should create an atmosphere where they don’t take the help of violence or militancy. Only then are we ready for talks,” he added.

This year, after years of decline, militant violence has increased in Kashmir, deepening a chill in ties with Pakistan whom India blames for stoking and keeping the revolt alive by sending fighters and material across the de factor border.

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In September a group of gunmen killed 19 Indian soldiers at an army camp in Kashmir, an attack India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

India said it had carried out “surgical strikes” inside Pakistan as retribution, but Islamabad denied they even took place and accused New Delhi of fabrication to distract attention from its crackdown on the protests in the part of Kashmir it controls.

courtesy : Express Tribune

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