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Indo-Pak talks in limbo

Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: The Indo-Pak NSA-level talks remained in limbo today with neither side willing to blink first on a day of sharp public exchanges with India making it clear that the talks would not take place if Pakistan insists on discussing Kashmir and ropes in separatists.

With less than 24 hours to go for Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz’s arrival here, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told a press conference that Pakistan had only till tonight to give a categorical assurance on these two issues.

“There will be no talks,” Swaraj declared when asked what would happen if Pakistan did not accept the position outlined by her on separatists and Kashmir.

Swaraj repeatedly emphasised that she was not laying down any pre-condition for the talks between Aziz and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval scheduled for Monday.

She said she was only invoking the Shimla spirit under which two countries are committed to resolving issues bilaterally and the recent agreement in Ufa where Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif had agreed that the NSAs would meet only to discuss terror.

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