Pakistan's invitation was extended amid tensions in bilateral ties over the ongoing Kashmir dispute
Two days after Pakistan invited India for foreign secretary-level talks on Kashmir, saying it is the “international obligation” of both the countries to resolve the issue, India today said "terror still remains the core concern that needed to be talked about".
"Since aspects related to cross-border terrorism are central to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, India has proposed that discussions between the foreign secretaries be focussed on them," Indian foreign secretary conveyed in a statement to his Pakistan counterpart.
A section of Indian media, however, interpreted it as the country's rejection of Pakistan's proposal to hold talks on Kashmir.
Pakistan foreign office spokesman Nafees Zakaria had earlier said in a statement that Indian high commissioner Gautam Bambawale was called to hand over a letter of invitation for talks.
“The foreign secretary called in the Indian high commissioner this afternoon [Monday], 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,” Zakaria said.
The invitation was extended amid tension in bilateral ties due to the war of words between the two nations over the issue. In response to the invitation, the Indian foreign secretary has conveyed his willingness to visit Islamabad.
"India rejects in their entirety the self-serving allegations regarding the situation in northernmost state Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India where Pakistan has no locus standi," the statement read.
Pakistan’s adviser on foreign affairs said last week that a conference of envoys of Pakistan earlier this month had agreed that Islamabad seek talks with New Delhi. Meanwhile, the Kashmir Valley has remained on a boil for over a month after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen millitant commander Burhan Wani.
(WION with inputs from PTI)