Sartaj Aziz’s veiled threat to Narendra Modi-Pakistan a nuclear armed country

Islamabad: Days after the NSA talks between India and Pakistan were called off, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz has accused “(Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s India” of acting like a regional superpower.

Dawn newspaper has quoted Aziz as saying: “Modi’s India acts as if they are a regional superpower, we are a nuclear-armed country and we know how to defend ourselves”.

The adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security added: “India should realise after the current episode that their tactics are not working, and they need to be sincere about dialogue with Pakistan.”

The Pakistan NSA further advised India to hold a referendum in “occupied Kashmir”.

Aziz also said that Pakistan has proof that India is involved in terrorism in his country. “Propaganda against Pakistan is more important for the Indians, rather than giving us evidence,” Aziz said.

After going through several now-on, now-off moments, the NSA talks between India and Pakistan were finally called off on Saturday, with both sides sticking to their positions.

In a statement, the Pakistan Foreign Office had said it has “come to the conclusion that the NSA talks would not serve any purpose if conducted on the basis of the two conditions” laid down by India — a clear signal calling off the talks.

In reply, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had tweeted: “Pakistan’s decision is unfortunate. India did not set any preconditions.”

“We only reiterated that Pakistan respect the spirit of the Simla & Ufa Agreements to which it was already committed,” he said.

Pakistan’s statement had come in response to India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s press conference in which she said Pakistani National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz was welcome to come to India for talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval but Islamabad must abide by the agenda agreed to at Ufa and only discuss terrorism.

Aziz, who was slated to travel to India on Sunday for the talks, had addressed a press conference earlier in Islamabad, said he was willing to come for the talks but Kashmir would be on the table and he would also speak with the Kashmiri separatists.

There were mixed reactions from Indian political leaders on Pakistan’s decision with some calling it “unfortunate” and “disappointing” while some warning against similar tactics in any future engagement.

Stressing Kashmir was never on the agenda of the proposed meeting between National Security Advisers Sartaj Aziz of Pakistan and Ajit Doval of India, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said if Pakistan was so keen on raising the Kashmir issue, why didn’t it do so at Ufa where the decision on the NSA-level talks was taken.

Pakistan had, however, on Sunday said the meetings between the DGMOs of the two countries and representatives of Pakistan Rangers and BSF will go ahead as agreed in Ufa.

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