South Asia

Hopes for Modi-Sharif talks recede

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit, at a seminar in New Delhi on Monday.Photo: Rajeev Bhatt  

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit, responding to questions on LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s anti-India statements over the flood situation, said, “Courts have already exonerated him. There is no case pending against him.” Mr. Basit’s comments come a day before he travels to Pakistan for consultations with the government.

Mr Basit’s statements on Monday provoked a strong reaction from the Ministry of External Affairs with a spokesperson saying, “99% of the evidence against Saeed exists in Pakistan, given that the conspiracy for the Mumbai attacks was hatched in Pakistan, the training and financing of it was done in Pakistan, and all the masterminds and men who carried out the attacks were Pakistani nationals.”

Monday’s statements further reduced chances of India and Pakistan working towards a meeting between the PMs on the sidelines of the UNGA, where Mr. Sharif had met Manmohan Singh last year.

On Monday, Mr. Basit told The Hindu, “There is no proposal from either Islamabad or New Delhi for such a meeting,” a statement confirmed by MEA officials here. Of particular interest will be Mr. Sharif’s speech to the UNGA on September 25, followed by Mr. Modi’s address on September 27.

The rise in sharp statements between both countries comes after India called off talks between the Foreign Secretaries in Islamabad over Mr. Basit’s meetings with Kashmiri separatists. Since then, Mr. Modi and Mr. Sharif had exchanged letters over the flood crisis in J&K as well as in Pakistan.

However, at a press conference in Lahore on September 9, Saeed had attacked Mr. Modi’s offer of assistance and accused India of “water terrorism,” blaming it for the flooding in Pakistan. He had blamed India for drought conditions in Pakistan over the past few years as well.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 4:08:10 PM |

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