India has called off its Foreign Secretary level talks with Pakistan, it emerged Monday evening.
The development comes after the Pakistani envoy in New Delhi, Abdul Basit, invited separatist leaders from Kashmir for a meeting.
Both the BJP and the Congress were critical of Basit’s endeavour to meet the Kashmiri leaders.
The Congress has in fact accused the BJP government of doublespeak. Manish Tewari had mocked on Twitter: “Pak High Comm feting separatists, Pak Army intruding across the border, ISI attacking Indian Consulate in Herat, BJP govt sleeps. Ache Din Agaye (Good times)”
A livid Ministry of External Affairs said, “Pakistan High Commissioner’s meeting with so called Hurriyat leaders undermined the constructive diplomatic arrangements made by PM Narendra Modi. At a time when serious initiative was taken to take bilateral ties forward, invite to Hurriyat leaders raises questions about Pakistan’s sincerity.
“Our Foreign Secretary conveyed to Pakistan High Commission that Pakistan’s continued efforts to interfere in Indian internal affairs are unacceptable. Under present circumstances no useful purpose will be served by Foreign Secretary visiting Islamabad, therefore the visit stands cancelled.”
Earlier in the day, Shabir Ahmad Shah, a separatist leader, hailed the resumption of dialogue at the level of the Foreign Secretaries but said that the Kashmir question would remain unanswered unless Kashmiris are taken into account.
“We welcome the talks between India and Pakistan but bilateral talks cannot resolve Kashmir issue as we have seen that such initiatives always ended in failure over the past six decades,” Shah was quoted by the media as saying.