India calls off talks with Pakistan in New YorkSep 21,2018 SOURCE: INDIA TODAY
The Indian government has called off the meeting of foreign ministers of India and Pakistan, which was scheduled in New York on the sidelines of the United Nation’s General Assembly next week. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed that India has decided not to go forward on the meeting between Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. On September 14, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in a letter had proposed “a meeting between foreign minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, before the informal meeting of the SAARC foreign ministers at the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York”. On Thursday, the MEA had accepted the invitation and explicitly mentioned that this was not a “dialogue” but just a “meeting” that India accepted at the behest of the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan. The decision to cancel the meeting has reportedly been taken due to the recent killing of a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan along the International Border by Pakistan. The body of the soldier was found with multiple bullet injuries — his throat had been slit and eyes gouged out, a brutal act possibly committed by Pakistan’s Border Action Team. BSF has also lodged a protest with the Pakistan Rangers at the sector level. Sources told India Today TV that the Indian side is also unhappy with Pakistan leaking privilege communication between the two sides. Sushma Swaraj and Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi are slated to address the 73rd UNGA session on September 29. Some tough statements on terrorism and Pakistan are expected by Swaraj even as Qureshi will not miss the opportunity to raise the issue of Kashmir.