Rajnath Rules Out Talks With Kashmir Separatists

2 July 2015

Srinagar: India desires cordial relations with Pakistan but said Islamabad 'will have to change its approach' for this to happen, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday. 'I want to say from the depth of my heart that we want good and friendly relations with Pakistan. It is our policy to have cordial relations with all our neighbouring countries, including Pakistan,' Singh told reporters here on the concluding day of his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir. The minister, accompanied by Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra, paid obeisance at the Amarnath cave shrine in the Himalayas of south Kashmir along with the first batch of pilgrims on Thursday. The two-month-long holy yatra began on Thursday amid tight security. He pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to attend his swearing-in ceremony in May 2014 to 'demonstrate our (India's) urge for peaceful and normal relations with that country. 'We made our intentions clear on the day of the oath-taking ceremony (of Modi). If it was not our intention to improve relations with Pakistan, perhaps our prime minister would not have invited Sharif,' he said. Invoking former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's quote on Pakistan that 'friends change, but neighbours don't', Singh said, 'We also believe in that. There will be no let up in our efforts but Pakistan will have to think about it (too). It takes two hands to clap.' Asked if the Centre had any plans to hold talks with separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir, Rajnath Singh said, 'We have no proposal to hold talks with the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir. 'We are ready to listen (and) talk to anyone but anti-national activities should be opposed and boycotted.'