India confirms NSAs met in Bangkok

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Responding to questions at the weekly briefing, the Ministry of External Affairs' official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Thursday, "India and Pakistan have a dialogue process and we have said terror and talks can not go together".

His statement came after media reports suggested that National Security Advisor Ajit Doval held met his Pakistani counterpart Nasser Khan Janjua in a "secret" meeting in Thailand on December 26.

"We raised the issue of cross-border terrorism in those talks because our main issue is how to ensure the safety of our region from the scourge of cross-border terrorism". While our position remains that terror and talks cannot go together, we believe talks on terror can definitely go ahead.

In the Buenos Aires plenary in November 2017, FATF had reportedly demanded compliance from Pakistan on the issue of terror funding after India raised the issue of the neighboring country's blatant support to terrorists and terrorist groups. Raveesh made it clear that the meeting date of the NSAs was pre-decided.

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The stated position that "talks and terror" can not go together applies to the dialogue process but that does not close the other mechanisms for contact between the two countries, he said. "Hence, the focus of the talks between NSAs of India and Pakistan was cross-border terrorism", Raveesh said while confirming the Rs secret meeting' between the NSAs of India and Pakistan.

He said India has been maintaining that terror and talks cannot go together, but talks on terror can definitely go ahead.

He maintained that the real issue discussed was "cross border terrorism" from Pakistan that targets India. In December 2015, the two NSAs, along with the two foreign secretaries, had met, again in Bangkok, which was not revealed till after the meeting. "Likewise, talks between NSAs is a part of operational level talks". There have been occasional telephonic engagements after that. Dawn online had quoted a senior National Security Division official as saying that the objective of the meeting was to avoid serious missteps over the visit of Kulbhushan Jadhav's family to Pakistan.

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