No meeting between foreign ministers of India, Pakistan in New York: MEA

09/21/2018

New Delhi, Sept. 21: Within 24 hours of announcement of acceptance of the offer of talks from Pakistan, India on Friday cancelled them. The two foreign ministers, Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, were to meet along the sidelines of the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) session in New York next week. 

This after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposing talks to discuss “all outstanding issues, including Kashmir”.

“Now, it is obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, its evil agenda stands exposed. The true face of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office.

“Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless,” said Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar announcing cancellation of talks. 

Earlier, the MEA spokesperson had stressed that the New York meeting should be seen only as a meeting and not as a dialogue or as resumption of structured talks and there was no change in India’s stated position of “talks and terror cannot go together”. 

Subsequently India in its reasons for cancellation of the meeting today has cited “two deeply disturbing developments” including recent brutal throat slitting of a BSF jawan and release of postal stamps “glorifying a terrorist” referring to Burhan Wani for suspension of talks.

“The latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of twenty postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism confirm that Pakistan will not mend its ways,” said Kumar stating that it was not in line with the “spirit reflected in the letters from the new prime minister and foreign minister of Pakistan”.

However, Indian BSF jawan Narendra’s Singh mutilated body was found near the international border in Jammu reportedly on September 18, two days prior to announcement of talks.

The postal stamps were reportedly released before the Pakistan general elections in July this year.

Reacting to India’s decision, Pakistani Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry called it a “puerile statement”.

“It seems that the Indian government is divided on the issue of negotiations — have never seen such a puerile statement given by any Foreign Office. The world is watching: Pakistan stands for peace while Indian policies are being guided by extremist ideologies,” wrote Chaudhry on Twitter. 

Sources suggest that the fresh killings of police personnel in Jammu and Kashmir and public reaction to announcement of talks is also a prime trigger for New Delhi’s decision.

The Modi government previously called off foreign secretary and foreign minister-level talks in 2014 and 2015 too on different grounds. The Tribune

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