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India agrees to talks, but subject should be terrorism

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NEW DELHI: (APS)August 17,2016- Responding to Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry’s invitation for talks on Kashmir issue, India s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar expressed his willingness to visit Islamabad but maintained that “Pakistan has no locus standi in addressing any aspect of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is an internal matter of India.”

The response was handed over to Pakistan by Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale today (Wednesday).

“Since aspects related to cross-border terrorism are central to the current situation in J&K, we have proposed that discussions between the foreign secretaries be focused on them,” stated an Indian government source according to Indian media.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is reviewing India‘s response.

Pakistan on Monday invited India for talks on Kashmir, saying it is the “international obligation” of both the countries to resolve the issue, notwithstanding India’s insistence that it would talk on “contemporary and relevant” issues in Indo-Pak relations.

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“The letter highlights the international obligation of both the countries, India and Pakistan, to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the U.N. Security Council resolutions,” the statement said.

The invitation was extended amid tension in bilateral ties due to the war of words between the two nations over the issue.

Indian Occupied Kashmir has been under curfew since protests erupted over the death last month of a popular young freedom fighter, Burhan Wani, in a gunfight with Indian security forces.

More than 70 civilians have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces, and thousands more injured in the worst violence to hit the Himalayan region since 2010.

Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan along a UN-monitored line of control, but both claim it in full and have fought two wars over its control.

Freedom fighters have battled Indian security forces in Kashmir since 1989 for the independence of the region or for it to be made part of Pakistan. The conflict has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead.

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