New Delhi: The government of India (GoI) today said any meaningful dialogue with Pakistan can only be held in “an atmosphere free from terror” and asserted that the onus was on Islamabad to create such a “conducive atmosphere”.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said “continued cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan remains a core concern for India”.
“Pakistan has also been asked to take effective actions to end terrorism and dismantle terrorist sanctuaries and infrastructure on the territory under its control. Until such time, India will continue to take firm and decisive steps to respond to cross-border terrorism,” he said.
“The government desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan and is committed to addressing all outstanding issues bilaterally and peacefully in accordance with the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration,” he said.
“However, any meaningful dialogue can be held only in an atmosphere free from terror, hostility and violence. The onus is on Pakistan to create such a conducive atmosphere,” Singh said.
To another question on whether neighbouring countries “have illegally encroached upon Indian territories”, Singh said “Pakistan has been in illegal occupation of approximately 78,000 sq km of Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir.”
“China has been in illegal occupation of approximately 38,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir, since 1962. In addition, under the so-called China-Pakistan ‘Boundary Agreement’ signed between China and Pakistan on March 2, 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq km of Indian territory in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to China,” he said.
“There is no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the border areas between India and China. From time to time, on account of the differences in the perception of the LAC, situations have arisen on the ground that could have been avoided if we had a common perception of the LAC,” Singh said. PTI