Post-Nagrota, India rules out talks with Pakistan

New Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) India on Thursday ruled out any talks with Pakistan, saying it took “very seriously” the killing of seven soldiers in the Tuesday terror attack on a military base near Jammu and “will do what it feels is required for our national security”.

In his weekly media briefing here, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that India has not received any request from Pakistan for a bilateral meeting during the Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference being held in Amritsar on December 3-4. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor on Foreign Affairs to the Pakistan Prime Minister, is scheduled to attend the conference.

Swarup said the cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan cannot be taken as the new normal and asked Islamabad to stop using terrorism as an instrument of its foreign policy.

“We are awaiting detailed information on the specifics of the Nagrota attack before we decide on the next steps. But I do wish to emphasise that the government takes this incident very seriously,” Swarup said.

The remarks came two days after militants disguised as policemen stormed the military base in Nagrota, some 15 km from Jammu. The 14-hour gunbattle between the suicide bombers and army men left seven soldiers and all attackers dead.

Swarup blamed Pakistan for the attack. “As you all know, Pakistan is a country which has a long record of carrying out cross border terrorism as an instrument of state policy.”

He said India over the years has suffered many “heinous terrorist attacks which have been supported and sponsored by Pakistan”.

“It is evident that it is not a matter of a week or a month. It is in fact a challenge that we have faced over many years, indeed over many decades.”

He ruled out any possibility of resuming peace talks with the neighbouring country and said: “We will never accept continued cross border terror as the new normal. Pakistan must stop terror and then we can talk.”

The spokesperson said the September 29 surgical strikes by the Indian Army, which destroyed seven terror launch pads and killed an unspecified number of terrorists and sympathisers, had been effective because it thwarted a major terror plot.

“Terrorists were ready to infiltrate to carry out terrorist activities on our side. This imminent threat was successfully neutralised through the surgical strikes. We should not look only at what happened but also at what did not happen, what was prevented through successful neutralisation of terrorists.”

Swarup added that India has always been open to talks “but obviously it cannot be that talks take place in an atmosphere of continued terrorism”.

“India will never accept continued terrorism as the new normal of the bilateral relationship,” he stressed.

Asked how New Delhi saw its ties with Islamabad following the appointment of General Qamar Javed Bajwa as Pakistan’s new Army Chief, the spokesperson said its was an internal matter of that country.

“But we will judge Pakistan by its behaviour and its track record and not by its personnel changes,” he added.

–IANS

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