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Pakistani national security adviser says he is still ready for India trip despite tensions


ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's national security adviser said Saturday he was still ready to travel to New Delhi for Sunday's scheduled security talks with his counterpart despite fresh tensions between the longtime adversaries.

India recently invited Sartaj Aziz for the first-ever security-level talks with his counterpart Ajit Doval following a rare meeting between the prime ministers of the two nuclear-armed nations in Russia in July. Since then, there have been several skirmishes between troops from both sides in the disputed border region of Kashmir.

Uncertainty about this much-hyped visit began Friday when India said it would not be "appropriate" for Aziz to meet with separatist leaders from the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir. Pakistan's high commissioner to New Delhi had invited Kashmiri leaders for a meeting with Aziz.

On Saturday, Aziz said it was a normal practice on the part of Pakistani leaders to meet with Kashmiri leaders during visits to India.

He said he was "very disappointed that India has virtually cancelled" the talks.

Aziz said India has yet to officially confirm the cancellation of visit and that an Indian announcement about the fate of the talks was expected later Saturday.

"On my part, I am still prepared to go to New Delhi," he said, "without any preconditions."

The hostility between Pakistan and India dates back seven decades, but strains have grown since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mod, a Hindu nationalist, took office a year ago.

The two nations have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence in 1947.

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