New Delhi, Oct 31: Amid a marked increase in ceasefire violations, India said Thursday that a “pre-condition for a forward movement” in India-Pakistan ties is improvement in the situation on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, at a press briefing, said that “the pre-condition for a forward movement in the relationship is an improvement in the situation in the Line of Control” that divides Kashmir between the two countries.
The statement comes as he also confirmed that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz would be meeting External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers next month.
Pakistan had requested the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Nov 11-12 event and it is taking place, Akbaruddin confirmed.
He said following the Sep 29 meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York, the “common understanding of outcome of that meeting is that both the prime ministers desire is an improvement on the Line of Control”.
An improvement in the situation on the LoC is what “guides our diplomatic interaction with Pakistan”, he said.
India is likely to raise at the meeting its concerns over the spike in infiltration across the border and the rise in ceasefire violations.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony had on Wednesday voiced concern over increasing ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts from across the border and said they could not take place without the “tacit support” of the Pakistani Army.
In Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said Thursday that Pakistan is committed to the bilateral process with India to address the Kashmir issue but would “always” be open to third party mediation.
“Pakistan has been committed to the bilateral process with India to address this matter as part of the composite dialogue process,” Chaudhry said at a briefing.
Pakistan hopes that India will “engage with us in a meaningful dialogue to resolve” the issue, he said.
“However, at the same time, Pakistan has always been open to third party mediation. We believe that it is an option that has always been available,” Chaudhry added.