India calls off meeting with Pak after Shopian killing
21 September 2018
The external affairs ministry has called off a meeting of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of UN General Assembly meeting in New York following the "brutal" killing of three policemen in Kashmir by Pakistan-backed terrorists and the release of postal stamps glorifying Kashmiri terrorist Burhan Wani.
Announcing the decision, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said “the recent developments show that any dialogue with Pakistan is meaningless.”
"Since yesterday's announcement of meeting of foreign ministers of India and Pakistan, 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 postal stamps by Pakistan glorifying terrorists," the MEA spokesperson said.
Following the incident, opposition parties criticised the government and asked it to explain the rationale behind accepting such a meeting when Pakistan-based terror outfits are killing Indian security personnel along the border in J&K.
Kumar said India's decision to agree to Pakistan's proposal for the meeting was in response to the spirit reflected in separate letters from Khan and Qureshi.
"The letter from the Prime Minister of Pakistan had spoken of, inter alia, bringing a positive change and mutual desire for peace as also readiness to discuss terrorism.
"It's 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 new Prime Minister of Pakistan has been revealed to world and that too in the first few months itself."
While India on Thursday agreed to a meeting between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart after Pakistan's request, earlier today, three policemen were abducted from their homes in south Kashmir's Shopian district and shot dead by the Hizbul Mujahideen.
India had agreed to talks after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking to re-start the bilateral talks on key issues "challenging the relationship."
India had halted all talks with Pakistan after the Pathankot air base terror attack in 2016.
India-Pak ties have nose-dived since then in view of a number of terror strikes by Pakistan-based groups, which India retaliated by carrying out 'surgical strikes' in September 2016 across the LoC. India has been maintaining that terror and talks cannot go together.
The last meeting between the two foreign ministers was held during Swaraj's visit to Islamabad in December 2015 to attend the Heart of Asia Summit, where she had met the then Pakistan foreign minister Sartaj Aziz.