India for the first time confirmed on Thursday that National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval met his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Khan Janjua in Bangkok last month with a focus on how to fight terror and end cross-border terrorism.
“Yes, I agree talks took place. I also agree that the issue is of terrorism. Talks were held on how to rid this region of the scourge of terrorism, how to ensure that terrorism doesn’t affect this region. I think we raised the issue of cross-border terrorism (with Pakistan) in those talks,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
He was answering queries about media reports on the meeting between Doval and Janjua in Bangkok on December 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.
The spokesperson de-linked 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.
“The dialogue process between India and Pakistan… We have said talks and terror cannot go together. But apart from that, there are other dialogue mechanisms that take place between India and Pakistan like talks at DGMO level, talks between BSF and Pakistan Rangers, there is a regular mechanism. Likewise, talks between NSAs is a part of operational level talks.”
He said while India believed that “terror and talks cannot go together but talks on terror can definitely go ahead”.
Asked if more such meetings between the NSAs were scheduled, Kumar said “these operational-level mechanisms do take place… but we don’t announce these meeting. As and when these meetings take place, you will get to know.”