Only Centre can take call on holding talks with Pak: Jitendra Singh


India, All India

Jitendra Singh, however, said, any decision in this regard is beyond the purview of the J-K government.

Union minister Jitendra Singh

Jammu: A day after Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate talks with Pakistan, Union minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday said the decision to hold or not to hold a dialogue with Islamabad is purely the Centre’s prerogative.

The BJP on Saturday hit back at the PDP for its remarks that delay in resumption of a dialogue between India and Pakistan has the potential of undermining the Agenda of Alliance of the PDP-BJP government and said such remarks could lead to mistrust and add to confusion among the people.

“The decision to hold or not to hold talks with Pakistan is purely the Centre’s prerogative and only the government of India is in a position to take a call on this,” Mr Singh, the minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, told reporters on the sidelines of the BJP state working committee meeting at Suchetgarh.

Asked to comment on Ms Mehbooba’s statement that India should hold talks with Pakistan at the earliest, Mr Singh said he “is not qualified to answer whether or not and when India should hold talks with Pakistan because he is not privy to the sensitive inputs and confidential reports, based on which, the ministry of external affairs and the Union ministry of Home Affairs take a view”.

He, however, said, any decision in this regard is beyond the purview of the J-K government.

Without naming any political party, Mr Singh said even going by the ideological positions taken by Kashmir-centric political parties espousing demands such as autonomy, these parties have also, in their policy documents, left the management of foreign affairs to the central government.

Lauding the security forces for eliminating eight militants in a single operation in the Kashmir valley today, Mr Singh said, “Our security forces are doing a commendable job and the nation is eternally indebted to them”. “We are approaching the last phase of militancy,” he said, claiming the common man in Kashmir, particularly the youth, has already moved ahead.