NEW DELHI, India: The Indian government has called off the two-day national security advisors (NSA) level talks with Pakistan after Islamabad asserted that it will not cancel its planned meeting with Kashmiri leaders.
The talks between Pakistan security advisor Sartaj Aziz and his Indian Counterpart Ajit Doval were scheduled in New Delhi on Sunday and Tuesday to discuss terrorism-related issues as per an understanding reached during a meeting between the two Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi at the Russian City of Ufa on July 10.
On the eve of talks, the Pakistan High Commission also invited Hurriyat leaders in New Delhi for a meeting with Sartaj Aziz, irking India which subsequently advised Islamabad not to go ahead with its plan of meeting Kashmiris.
However, Pakistan today rejected the Indian advice, saying that Pakistani leadership has always interacted with the Kashmiri leadership during their visits to India.
In a press conference in New Delhi, the Indian External Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that India has always maintained there are only two stakeholders in our relationship not three, hinting at Pakistan’s engagement with separatists.
“In Ufa both PMs agreed on a meeting of NSAs to discuss all issues connected to terrorism. Instead we saw a sharp increase in unprovoked firing from Pak side and some serious cross border terror incidents. India remains committed to discussing issues with Pakistan bilaterally and peacefully,” Vikas Swarup was quoted as saying by the Indian media.
“The statement by Pakistan government on NSA level talks with India has not come as a surprise for us. Pakistan’s position indicates reluctance to go forward,” he added.
Last year in August, the Narednra Modi-led Indian government also called off foreign secretary level talks between the two neighboring countries after the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit held consultations with the Hurriyat leaders.