India blamed ‘Pakistan-based entities’ for Friday’s killing of three special police officers in Kashmir and called off the planned meeting of foreign ministers in New York.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said talks in the current circumstances would be futile and also cited stamps issued by Pakistan in July in memory of Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani as a reasons for the cancellation.
“Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless. In view of the changed situation, there will be no meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York,” the MEA said in a press release.
Apart from the killing of policemen and reported intimidation of serving police personnel by militants in Kashmir, India also took note of the postage stamps in memory of the slain militant Burhan Wani, that were issued by Pakistan. Sources said the MEA took note of the stamps on Thursday.
“Since yesterday’s announcement of a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York later this month, two deeply disturbing developments have taken place. The latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism confirm that Pakistan will not mend its ways,” the MEA said.
The sudden cancellation came a day after Delhi agreed to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s proposal for the talks, and announced that a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi would take place on the sidelines of the annual session of the UN General Assembly in the next few days. Thursday’s announcement came even as India confirmed the murder of a BSF soldier by Pakistani elements.
India’s decision drew swift response from Pakistan, with Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry telling reporter, “The entire world is watching that Pakistan stands for peace and dialogue and India is being led by extremist mindset.”
President of Pakistan Arif Alvi described Delhi’s decision as “sad”.
“Mutual reservations could have been placed on the table,” said Mr Alvi in a social media post.
The MEA stated that the decision to go ahead with the meeting in New York was taken because the proposal from Prime Minister Imran Khan had indicated a desire to discuss ‘terrorism’ with India.
“Now it is obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and 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,” stated the MEA press statement.
Officials said the decision to cancel the meeting between the two ministers was taken after “wider consultation” in the MEA and with all stakeholders in the government.
“The Postage stamps came to our notice yesterday night. We only verified this last night. We wish that the Pakistan government had done something to make the atmosphere better,” an official source said clarifying the abrupt cancellation.
The decision to cancel the talks was taken as India sensed the contradictions in Pakistan’s stated position and its unstated agenda. “We got a sense that what PM Khan is saying and what he wants to do has a big gap,” said the source.
The decision received support from the opposition. Abhishek Singhvi of Congress said, “Does it require any degree of competence to know that you don’t decide to resume dialogue on a day when they have murdered and mutilated a BSF jawan?”
(With inputs from Sandeep Phukan)