"For peaceful dialogue to proceed, we need an environment free of violence and terror."

India has given clear indications that talks with Pakistan will be difficult in the backdrop of the continuing tensions on the Line of Control, with both sides claiming ceasefire violations and deaths, including those of five Indian soldiers in a sneak attack from Pakistan earlier this month.

“There is a lot of sense of disappointment. There is anger and I think the air needs to get clear before we can start giving responses to many things that are half done. We first need to get back to normal and there are steps that need to be taken by the Pakistani side before we can start addressing these issues,” said External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday evening.

Earlier in the day, Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry, called on Pakistan to abide by its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s “publicly-articulated commitment” to seek a relationship of peace, friendship and cooperation with India. It must not allow its territory to be used for anti-India activities.

The problem was the frequent instances of “unprovoked firing” from across the border whereas India feels upholding the sanctity of the LoC was the most important confidence building measure between the two countries, Mr. Akbaruddin told newspersons at an official briefing.

“For peaceful dialogue to proceed, we need an environment free of violence and terror. And certainly what has happened last week doesn’t fit into that. That said there was no timeline [for holding of talks]... We are considering these things and have factored in all subsequent developments also. We will take a call in due time,” he said.

He admitted Pakistan had suggested dates for Secretary-level talks on two of the outstanding issues. These would have preceded a proposed meeting between the two Prime Ministers towards the end of next month. While India was committed to resolving all outstanding issues through dialogue, “in the current context and the events of last week, we see that the upholding of the sanctity of the LoC is vital,” he said.

More In: National | News