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NO TALKS WITH PAK

India will not hold talks with Pakistan until it gives up its state policy of supporting terrorism, the country’s Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reelected in a general election fought on strong nationalistic sentiments.

Ties between India and Pakistan hit a new low after the Pulwama terror attack. Tensions flared up after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India.

Shringla said the onus of the peace talks to improve the relationship between the two south Asian neighbours lies on Pakistan.

As long as a particular country uses terrorism as an instrument of state policy and India continues to be at the receiving end of that policy, no Indian government will get a mandate from the people to reach out to that country, he told a group of American reporters as results of the general elections were declared in New Delhi in which Modi was voted back to power with a strong mandate.

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