"We have said earlier that talks and terror cannot go together but "talks on terror" can definitely go ahead", Mr. Kumar said, acknowledging that the NSA-level parleys are part of the "operational-level talks" that take place between India and Pakistan, despite the breakdown in the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) that was launched in December 2015. "I agree that talks took place", MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters at a press conference.
The statement comes days after media reports stated that NSAs Ajit Doval and retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua held a "secret" meeting in Thailand on December 27. We have said talks and terror can not go together. However, there are other dialogue mechanisms like at the DGMO level or between the BSF and Pakistan Rangers.
The Government feels that though terror and talks (Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue) can not go together, it will not mind discussing issues pertaining to terrorism through various mechanisms. Raveesh made it clear that the meeting date of the NSAs was pre-decided. "It is not to do with anything which is happening at that point of time", he said. The Government on Thursday said "though terror and talks cannot go together, talks on terror can definitely go on".
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On whether the NSAs would meet again, Kumar said the information would be shared as and when such operational meetings take place. While these are official meetings, sources said there have been several under-the-radar meetings with top officials in the Indian establishment.
During the meeting, Janjua reported raised the issue of targeting of civilians along the Line of Control while Doval spoke of infiltration.
On December 31, a newspaper had reported that the two NSAs met in Thailand on December 26.
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In fact, the two NSAs spoke shortly after the Pathankot attack in January 2016.
The Jadhav-family meeting became the latest flashpoint in already strained Indo-Pak relations, with Pakistan terming its decision to allow Jadhavs family to travel to Pakistan to meet him as a humanitarian gesture and India accusing it of violating mutual understandings.
Modi also visited Pakistan in a surprise stopover on 25 December, 2015, on his way back from Russian Federation and Afghanistan.
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