India has not sent any message to Pakistan expressing desire for talks, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated in New Delhi on Thursday, dismissing the recent claim by a senior aide of the neighbouring country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“Let me make it clear that no such message was sent from our side,” Anurag Srivastava, the spokesperson of the MEA, told journalists, responding to a query on the veracity of the claim made by Khan’s advisor on national security and strategic policy planning, Moeed Yusuf.

Yusuf claimed in a recent interview to a news-portal that the Khan Government in Islamabad had received “a message” from India expressing “desire for a conversation” with Pakistan.

He, however, said that Islamabad would be ready to hold talks with New Delhi only if the Government of India ended the military siege and stop human rights violations in Kashmir and release all political prisoners, who had been detained from the valley after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government on August 5, 2019 moved to strip the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) of its special status and reorganise the state into two Union Territories. He also demanded that Kashmiris should be involved in the talks between India and Pakistan.

New Delhi, however, dismissed any possibility of talks between India and Pakistan.

Srivastava on Thursday accused Pakistan Prime Minister’s aide of commenting on internal matters of India.

“As always, this is Pakistan’s effort to divert attention from domestic failures of the present government and mislead its domestic constituents by pulling India into headlines on a daily basis,” he said. “The official (Yusuf) is well advised to restrict his advice to his establishment and not to comment on India’s domestic policy. The statements made by him are contrary to facts on the ground, misleading and fictitious.”

New Delhi once again alleged that Pakistan continued to support, aid and abet cross-border terrorism against India and had also been resorting to unprovoked ceasefire violations along the Line of Control to support infiltration of terrorists. Pakistan’s leadership continues to indulge in inappropriate, provocative and hate speech against India. “Such support to terrorism against India and use of derogatory and abusive language are not conducive to normal neighbourly relations,” said the MEA spokesperson.

The formal talks between India and Pakistan to resolve outstanding disputes remained stalled since January 2013. The two sides had announced resumption of the bilateral dialogue a few days before Modi had visited Lahore on December 25, 2015 to greet the then Pakistan Prime Minister M Nawaz Sharif on his birthday and to take part in his granddaughter’s wedding ceremony. But the process had been derailed after a gang of terrorists sneaked into India from Pakistan and carried out an attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathakot in Punjab on January 1, 2017.

The troubled relations between New Delhi and Islamabad worsened further in 2019 – in the wake of the killing of 40 Central reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in a terror attack at Pulwama in J&K on February 14 and then the Modi Government’s August 5 move.