New Delhi: Just days after Home Minister Rajnath Singh said India was ready for talks with Pakistan if the latter took some initiative, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj denied any softening of India's stand. "We are ready for talks. But there's a caveat -- terror and talks cannot go together .This has always been our position," Ms Swaraj said. Sources in the home ministry say Mr Singh's stance stems from the inputs received from various quarters during review meetings held on Kashmir.
"Many stakeholders have advocated that Pakistan needs to be engaged and that's why the minister has been vocal about it," a senior ministry official told NDTV.
While the Home minister wants to engage the Hurriyat too, the BJP has said any talks with separatists would be within the ambit of the constitution.
"The talks cannot be outside the framework of the constitution," BJP president Amit Shah had told reporters last week on the sidelines of a party function.
Reports reaching the home ministry suggest that hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani wants to decide about any dialogue with the government only after consultations with other separatist leaders like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik.
On Sunday, Syed Ali Shah Geelani had said that the Hurriyat would talk only when the government accepts Kashmir as a dispute, adding that the five-point formula that the conglomerate had offered to New Delhi in 2010 should form the basis of any dialogue moving forward.
"The Hurriyat leadership will extend its full support to every serious effort aimed at resolving Kashmir so that peace prevails and bloodshed stops," Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tweeted a couple of days ago.
Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP) led by Shabir Shah has also said that "If India is serious in talks it must engage all parties to the dispute."
"The government has given indications that it wants to engage both internal as well as external stakeholders, which gives it an entirely different orientation," said a top source in the home ministry.