India warned Abdul Basit against holding parleys

Pak envoy’s meeting undermined constructive diplomatic engagement initiated by PM

New Delhi: Prior to Pakistani diplomat Abdul Basit’s meeting with the separatist leader, the Indian foreign secretary had told him they could either have a dialogue with the Indian government or with the separatists. But Mr Basit went ahead with the meeting. Sources said this left the government with no option but to cancel the talks that were due to resume after a gap of two years.

The external affairs ministry also said the Pakistan envoy’s meeting undermined the constructive diplomatic engagement initiated by PM Narendra Modi.

Sources said the decision to cancel the talks was taken after hectic deliberations between the MEA and the PMO. A source said that national security adviser A.K. Doval was of the view that a terse message needed to be sent to Pakistan that talks could not be held if it kept interfering in India’s domestic matters.

“Therefore, under the present circumstances, no useful purpose will be served by the Indian foreign secretary going to Islamabad next week.

Indian foreign secretary had 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,” MEA spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.

The BJP welcomed the government’s decision, while the Congress accused it of following an “opaque and incoherent” foreign policy vis-a-vis Pakistan, and sending “confused signals” to the nation.

Congress leader Anand Sharma called it “theatrics” and asked Mr Modi to explain why the talks were initiated given that there was “no progress” from the Pakistan side on acting against terror.

( Source : dc correspondent )
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