Declaring, “war is not an option,” Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said it had decided to hold dialogue with Pakistan as it is the only way to remove “the shadow of terrorism”.
Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha that India and Pakistan had decided to hold talks on terror when the Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif met in Ufa (Russia) in July and then in Paris recently.
“We said we can talk so that terrorism comes to an end. So talks between NSAs took place in Bangkok where we discussed about terrorism. But one meeting will not bring a solution to all the problem. So we will continue the dialogue,” she said during Question Hour.
When BJP member Ganesh Singh asked whether India was exploring options like those that the US did to hunt down terrorists like Osama Bin Laden, Swaraj said India is talking to Pakistan on the terrorist camps existing in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as “war is not an option.”
“We have decided that through talks we will resolve the issue of terrorism as talks is the way forward so that the shadow of terror is removed. But we want to make it clear; our Prime Minister has made it clear that talks and terror cannot go together. Dialogue is drowned by the sound of explosion,” she said.
Swaraj was speaking against the backdrop of the recent decision to re-start the ‘Comprehensive’ dialogue with Pakistan under which various subjects, including terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir, will be discussed.
Swaraj said Modi had said there was a need for talks to resolve the issue of terrorism.
“The prime minister said let’s talk on terror. For talks, we will have to put in faith. There is no third party. Through talks, both the countries are trying to resolve the issue of terrorism,” she said.
Swaraj said following Modi’s conversation with Sharif in Paris on November 30 on the sidelines of climate change summit and in line with the Ufa understanding between the two leaders, the National Security Advisors of the two countries met in Bangkok on December 6.
“They held candid and constructive discussions. During my recent visit to Pakistan on December 8-9, the two sides decided that the NSAs would continue to address all issues connected to terrorism. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial,” she said.