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Terror core issue for talks, India tells Pak

 NEW DELHI, Aug 25 - Hardening its stance further, India has once again virtually rejected Pakistan’s latest invitation for talks on Kashmir, saying it is willing to discuss cross-border terrorism which was its “core concern”.

Replying to his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry’s fresh invitation of August 19 to visit Islamabad by the end of this month to discuss Kashmir dispute, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said in a letter he was willing to discuss terrorism emanating from Pakistan’s territory which was India’s “core concern”.

According to sources, Jaishankar’s letter was handed over by Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to Chaudhry yesterday. The reply again stressed the need for earliest possible vacation of Islamabad’s illegal occupation of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).

Chaudhry’s August 19 letter, second in the last 10 days, invited Jaishankar to visit “Islamabad by the end of this month to discuss the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, with a view to finding a fair and just solution, as per the United Nations Security Council resolutions and aspirations” of the people of the state. He had first written to Jaishankar on August 15 for talks on Kashmir.

Pakistan has also called for “putting an immediate end to the human rights violations against the innocent people” of J&K and for providing medical facilities to the injured, “including the permission for doctors and paramedics to travel.”

The sharp exchange of words comes amid strain in bilateral ties between the two nations over the continuing unrest in Kashmir with Islamabad issuing provoking statements on the turmoil following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani last month.

Wani was hailed as a martyr by Pakistan, which also tried to internationalise the Kashmir issue with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the country’s foreign office writing to a host of countries, besides the United Nations, while India has been maintaining that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the Valley is the root cause of the turbulence. – PTI

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