In what reflected inconsistency in India’s policy on Pakistan, New Delhi on Friday called off a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi in New York next week following the nation-wide outrage over the brutal killings of Indian security personnel by Pakistan-based entities.
India also lashed out at Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying his “true face” has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office.
The cancellation of the foreign ministers’ meeting came within 24 hours of India announcing that it has accepted the Pakistan PM’s request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter for such a meeting.
In a strongly-worded statement, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar noted that since Thursday’s announcement of a meeting between the two foreign ministers, two deeply disturbing developments have taken place.
“The brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism confirm that Pakistan will not mend its ways,” he said.
The spokesperson said the decision to agree to Pakistan’s proposal for a meeting between the foreign ministers was in response to the spirit reflected in the letters from the new Prime Minister and his Foreign Minister.
The letter from Khan had spoken of inter-alia bringing a positive change and mutual desire for peace as also readiness to discuss terrorism.
“Now, it is obvious that behind its 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 Imran Khan has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office,” he said, adding any conversation with Islamabad in such an environment would be meaningless.
In view of the changed situation, there would be no meeting between the two foreign ministers in New York, he added.
It is learnt that senior officials of the PMO and the External Affairs Ministry held a meeting on Friday afternoon and took note of the nation-wide outrage over the mutilation of the body of the BSF jawan near Jammu and the abduction and killing of three J-K policemen.
India was also livid at Pakistan leaking the contents of the Pakistan PM’s letter to Modi to an Indian newspaper, causing embarrassment in Indian official circles.
The standalone meeting between the two foreign ministers was to take place on 27 September and the permanent missions of the two countries were discussing the time and venue of their meeting.
Swaraj and Qureshi will in any case come face-to-face at the SAARC Council of Ministers’ meeting to be held the same day.