India Confirms Reports of NSA-Level Meet with Pakistan in Bangkok
Confirming reports of a ‘secret meeting’ between the National Security Advisers of India and Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday, 11 January, said that the meeting was held on 26 December in Bangkok.
According to The Hindu, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the meet was “part of a mechanism to hold Pakistan responsible for the terrorism emanating from its land”.
On 1 January, a senior Pakistani official had said that the “secret” meeting was held in Thailand, where the tone and tenor of India's NSA Ajit Doval was "friendly and positive".
An official with Pakistan's national security division, on condition of anonymity, said the meeting between Pakistan's NSA retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua and Doval took place on 27 December in Thailand, The Dawn reported.
"The meeting was good. Doval's tone and tenor was friendly and positive," the official disclosed. The official maintained that he was briefed about the Indo-Pak meeting.
He was told that the meeting was "useful". The report also quoted the official as saying that the interaction might help in restarting some sort of engagement at the diplomatic level as well.
The meeting, which lasted for five hours, included discussions of issues of national security, terrorism, and relations with other countries, The Indian Express reported.
The daily quoted sources as saying that the venue and the date of the meeting with Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Lt General Nasir Khan Janjua were not linked to India’s accusation of the ‘mistreatment’ of Jadhav’s family in Pakistan. Instead, it was a “pre-scheduled meeting”, sources were quoted as saying.
Top officials of the foreign ministries of both the countries were aware of the meeting, according to the report.
At the meeting, Doval is believed to have raised the issue of infiltration by militants into Kashmir from across the Line of Control (LoC) with active support from the Pakistan army, considering that the Indian Army lost 31 soldiers on the LoC in 2017.
The Pakistan Army had, in a recent press conference, accused India of increasing the number of ceasefire violations across the LoC in 2017. “52 civilians were martyred and 254 injured [in the 1,813 violations],” Geo TV quoted army spokesperson Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor as saying.
Janjua had said: “The stability of the South Asian region hangs in a delicate balance, and the possibility of nuclear war cannot be ruled out.” He also stated that special efforts are needed to maintain balance in South Asia, which is “a mistake away” from a major catastrophe.
The “secret” meeting in Thailand recieved strong reactions on Twitter and elsewhere.
The last time the two NSAs met was in December 2015, in Bangkok, followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise stop-over in Lahore to attend the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif's grand-daughter's wedding.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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