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India Calls off Foreign Secretary Level Talks with Pakistan
Aug 20, 2014

Sending a strong message to Pakistan, the Indian government called off the proposed Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan, an hour after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit met Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah. Leaders of three factions of separatist Hurriyat Conference had been invited by Pakistan High Commissioner in Delhi Abdul Basit ahead for proposed talks between Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan in Islamabad on August 25.

The Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh conveyed to the Pakistan High Commissioner in clear and unambiguous terms, that Pakistan’s continued efforts to interfere in India’s internal affairs were unacceptable. 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 the Indian Prime Minister.

The  faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq that engaged in talks with the Governments of India and Pakistan in the past, had been invited to meet the Pakistan High Commissioner. On the other hand, the hardline faction of Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Geelani was scheduled to meet Pakistan High Commissioner to convey the stand of Hurriyat about the said dialogue. The third faction of Hurriyat led by Shabir Shah had been also been invited.  

Meeting between the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi and separatist leaders in Kashmir is a routine affair, but it catches media attention when dignitaries from Pakistan officially visit India. Hardliners in New Delhi opposed separatists’ meetings with Pakistani dignitaries.

India also underlined that at a time when serious initiatives were being undertaken by the Centre to push bilateral ties, including resumption of a regular dialogue process, the invitation to “so-called leaders” of the Hurriyat by the Pakistan High Commission 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.

This is a serious setback to the efforts to re-start the dialogue process, which have been stalled since January 2013. Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh was scheduled to travel to Islamabad for talks with her Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary on August 25. The last meeting between the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries took place in Islamabad in September 2012.


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