India on Monday called off the foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan. The decision from the NDA government came after Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit issued an invite to Kashmiri separatists.
The proposed talks, to be held in Islamabad on August 25, would have been the first official dialogue between India and Pakistan since the beheading of an Indian soldier along the LoC over a year ago froze relations between the two neighbours.
“Pakistan's interference in India's internal affairs is not acceptable,” foreign secretary Sujatha Singh told the Pakistani high commissioner.
It was underlined that the Pakistani high commissioner’s meetings with these so called leaders of the Hurriyat undermines the constructive diplomatic engagement initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May on his very first day in office.
“Pakistan high commissioner's meeting with the so-called Hurriyat does indeed raise questions about Pakistan’s sincerity, and shows that its negative approaches and attempts to interfere in India’s internal affairs continue unabated,'' said ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
“At a time when serious initiative was taken to take bilateral ties forward, the invite to Hurriyat leaders raises questions about Pakistan's sincerity,” he said.
The only path available to Pakistan is to resolve outstanding issues through a peaceful bilateral dialogue within the framework and principles of the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration.
Therefore, under the present circumstances, it is felt that no useful purpose will be served by the Indian Foreign Secretary going to Islamabad next week.
New Delhi's decision to cancel talks with Islamabad is being attributed to the unrest in Pakistan where the opposition parties — Imran Khan's PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek — are camping in Islamabad as part of a massive campaign against the Nawaz Sharif government.
Finding itself incapable of hosting a high-level meeting with India, the Sharif government is believed to have taken recourse to a spate of ceasefire relations along the LoC.