India yesterday rejected Pakistan's proposal to hold Foreign Secretary-level talks on Kashmir and made it clear that terrorism was "central" to its relations with Islamabad, whose different view and attitude has made it difficult for bilateral ties to grow.

 

Responding to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry's invitation, India's Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar expressed his willingness to travel to Islamabad to discuss aspects related to cross-border terrorism which is central to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

The response, which was handed over to Pakistan Foreign Ministry by Indian envoy to Islamabad Gautam Bambawale, also maintained that the neighbouring country has no locus - standi in addressing any aspect of the situation in J&K, which is an internal matter of India, except to put an end to cross-border terrorism and infiltration.

 

Later talking to the media here, Jaishankar said India has made great efforts to reach out to Pakistan but it clearly faces a unique challenge in Pakistan's response.

 

"Terrorism issue has become so central to the relationship that it makes the ties difficult to grow," the Foreign Secretary said.

 

He also hit out at Pakistan, saying while rest of the region is with India in wanting a much more cooperative and connected South Asia, a "standout country's" view and attitude towards terrorism as an instrument of policy of diplomacy that makes it a "difficult partner" in the region.