Amid war of words, India tells Pak it wants to discuss illegal occupation of PoK


External affairs minister Vikas Swarup said India’s response to Pakistan’s offer of talks had rejected Islamabad’s “self-serving allegations” regarding Kashmir.

On a day Pakistan accused India of crossing a “red line” by raising alleged rights abuses in Balochistan, New Delhi said it wanted to discuss the vacation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir under “illegal occupation” by Islamabad.

The war of words heated up a day after India said it would take up Pakistan’s offer of talks provided they focus on cross-border terrorism and not the unrest in Kashmir, where more than 60 people have died in protests after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.

India reiterated that foreign secretary S Jaishankar had accepted his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry’s invitation to visit Islamabad for talks, which should focus on the “more pressing aspects of the Jammu and Kashmir situation”.

These aspects, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, include Pakistan ending cross-border terrorism and “incitement to violence and terrorism” in Kashmir, detaining and prosecuting terrorist leaders who have been active in supporting such violence, closing down terrorist camps, and denying safe haven, shelters and support to terrorists who have escaped Indian law.

The Indian foreign secretary also looks forward to discussing “the earliest possible vacation of Pakistan’s illegal occupation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”, Swarup told a news briefing.

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