Amit Baruah

Interference in internal affairs, says Pakistan; wants Kashmir issue addressed

India raises issue of terrorist infrastructureSeeks agreement on extradition, legal assistancePresents "non-papers" on border posts, flag meetings

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday said it made a statement on Balochistan last month as New Delhi was "concerned" over the situation in the Pakistani province. Earlier, Pakistan protested saying the remarks amounted to interference in its internal affairs.

India also raised the issue of Pakistani support to terrorism on the first day of the third round of composite dialogue between Foreign Secretaries Shyam Saran and Riaz Muhammad Khan here.

Though they said their piece on contentious issues, both sides felt that considerable progress was made in the second round. A joint statement is expected on the concluding day of discussions on Wednesday.

Officials privy to the 150-minute talks said India raised the issue of terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan. Mr. Saran told Mr. Khan that Islamabad must agree on extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties as proof of its commitment to tackle terrorism.

To a question, the External Affairs Ministry spokesman said: "Pakistan took up the issue of the statement we made [on human rights in Balochistan]. ... In his response, the Foreign Secretary said that an official statement had been made, which spoke for itself. It was made because [a] certain situation was developing in our neighbourhood, which was of concern to us. And, he regretted the unfounded allegations about Indian interference in Balochistan."

India presented two "non-papers," or written ideas which do not amount to a commitment, suggesting that no new defence post/work be taken up along the Line of Control and that Brigade Commanders be permitted to hold flag meetings.

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