March 8: Settling the Kashmir issue should not be a pre-condition for holding talks between India and Pakistan, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said today as he asked the two nations not to allow non-state actors and other pressure groups to derail the peace process.
He also asked Pakistan to speed up the investigation into the January 2 Pathankot attack which India has blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant group.
“Settling the Kashmir issue should not be a precondition for starting the dialogue process,” Hammond, who is here on a day-long visit, said during a joint press conference with Pakistan Premier’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz.
“I urge both Pakistan and India not to allow non-state actors and other pressure groups to derail the peace process,” he said.
“I welcome Pakistan’s commitment to vigorously pursue Pathankot attack investigations and we hope that the country will make progress in the investigation,” he said.
Aziz said that a joint investigation team is in process to complete its probe into the Pathankot attack.
“The probe team will visit India in the next few days,” he said.
Aziz also said that there is no pre-condition for the meeting of the foreign secretaries of the two nations.
However, he said that their meeting could take place after the visit of Pakistani probe team to India.