New Delhi: Adopting a tough stance, India on Wednesday rejected Pakistan's proposal for foreign secretary-level talks on Kashmir, asserting that terror remains the core concern and there was a need to talk about that.
However, India's Foreign Secretary Jaishankar said he is ready to go to Islamabad but maintained Pakistan has no locus standi in addressing any aspect of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is an internal matter of India, except to put an end to cross-border terrorism and infiltration.
"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."
"We have also conveyed that Government of India rejects in their entirety the self-serving allegations regarding the situation in J&K, which is an integral part of India where Pakistan has no locus standi," the sources added.
Pakistan on Monday had invited India for talks on Kashmir, saying it is the "international obligation" of both the countries to resolve the issue.
In his over 90-minute Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday openly came out in support of "freedom" for Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Hours later, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria said in a statement that Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale was called to hand over a letter of invitation for talks.
Bambawale has now handed over India's response to Pakistan's Foreign Office.
Zakaria had said in a statement: "The Foreign Secretary called in the Indian High Commissioner this afternoon (15 August 2016) and handed over a letter addressed to his Indian counterpart, inviting him to visit Pakistan for talks on Jammu and Kashmir dispute that has been the main bone of contention between India and Pakistan."
The invitation was extended amid tension in bilateral ties due to the war of words between the two nations over the issue.
The invite came on the day Modi asserted that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is also a part of Jammu and Kashmir.
A few days ago, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also said that India was willing to discuss only PoK with Pakistan, and that the question of discussing Jammu and Kashmir with Islamabad just does not arise.
India had also virtually turned down Pakistan's proposal that it would invite India for a dialogue on J&K and made it clear that it would talk on "contemporary and relevant" issues in Indo-Pak relations.