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Modi govt calls off India-Pakistan talks in New York, says ‘true face’ of PM Khan revealed

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India cites killings of its security personnel and release of 20 postage stamps ‘glorifying a terrorist’ as reasons for cancelling talks.

New Delhi: The Modi government, which is facing the Congress-led opposition’s charge of double standards on Pakistan, Friday evening called off foreign minister-level talks in New York next week, citing the “brutal killings” of Indian security personnel and the release of 20 postage stamps “glorifying a terrorist”.

The talks between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi were to take place on 26 September, a day before the SAARC foreign ministers’ meeting.

If Swaraj doesn’t want to be seen sitting with Qureshi at all because of India’s anger over the treatment of its own security personnel at the hands of “Pakistan-based entities” — the government press release doesn’t even name the Pakistani army — then she will have to take a call about attending that meeting as well.


Also read: India, Pakistan foreign ministers to meet in New York next week & break impasse


By cancelling the talks within 24 hours of confirming them, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has certainly embarrassed itself.

The killing of Indian soldiers took place before the talks were confirmed by the MEA Thursday, while 20 postage stamps on “Kashmiri terrorists” were released even before the Pakistani elections took place in July.

The MEA would not say what new incidents it was referring to. In fact, the MEA tried to justify its decision by invoking what is seen as undiplomatic language against Pakistan.

“Now, it is 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 the new Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office,” the MEA statement said.

The cancellation is viewed as yet another aspect of the Modi government’s flip-flop policy against Pakistan. Over the past four years since it came to power, the BJP-led NDA government has wildly careened in one direction or another —  from Modi visiting Lahore for the wedding of then PM Nawaz Sharif’s grand-daughter to the current cancellation after confirmation.


Also read: Real reason behind Modi’s letter to Imran is to set up a foreign ministers’ meeting in NY


Perhaps the government realised much too late that it was going to celebrate the second anniversary of the “surgical strikes” against Pakistan on 29 September, three days after the two foreign ministers met in New York — perhaps the messaging to the world community would have been contradictory.

However, the latest move makes the Modi government look weak. The Congress can pat itself on the back that it forced the government to back off on its own promise.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. One statement from our side, one tweet from PM Imran Khan, and it is difficult to see the threads of dialogue being picked up for quite some time. Communication between deeply hostile states is best left to professional diplomats who weigh each word carefully.

  2. Prof PK Sharma,Freelance Journalist,Barnala (Punjab)

    Ironical Indeed !
    India’s Foreign Policy in doldrums, distress and dithering plight !
    It reflects utmost immaturity, childishness and hollowness !
    Mrs. Sushma Swaraj infact deserving Information and Broadcasting Ministry has unduly been burdened with this mindboggling
    Union External Affairs portfolio by NaMo !

    Very objectively speaking, Mrs Swaraj has miserably failed as Foreign Minister ! Sans any doubt, the foreign policy of India has suffered a great deal over the past couple of years while she being at the helm in External Affairs of the nation ! Keeping in view her health factor too she should have herself voluntarily opted out of this ministry long back !

    The fact cannot be denied that Prime Minister Modi because of complacency did not attach any significance to this important ministry
    He should objectively have gone in for someone seasoned or well- versed figure in diplomatic and foreign affairs !

    Rising above politics/petty personal likes and dislikes in the best interests of nation NaMo could have utilised the services of Mr. Yashwant Sinha, Dr.Murli Manohar Joshi or even Dr. Subramaniam Swany for this significant portfolio !

    For certain wrong decisions why should the nation face the music but the country is facing the music now because of that ?
    Nation above everything spirit could have served the purpose in this regard !

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala(Punjab)

  3. Successive Indian governments have struggled to find the right balance and nuance in engaging with Pakistan, which is far short of actually achieving worthwhile results. Given how much media interest each interaction generates – which could be viewed positively as a measure of the desire for peace among common citizens in both countries – and how much embarrassment is caused when something goes away, perhaps meetings / discussions / phone conversations could be entirely private. The channel for communication between diplomats, military and intelligence officials should not allow to become rusty through disuse. 2. If both sides could agree to observe diplomatic niceties in the tone and language that is used, that would help a great deal. On our side, there is need to rein in electronic media, some elements of which are seen to speak for the establishment and which are vitiating the atmosphere. Observing the Geneva and Vienna conventions should be sacrosanct. We are not the only two nations in history that have had hostile relations. 3. It would be a miracle now if the SAARC summit takes place. A team of diplomats led by FS Vijay Gokhale could be tasked to keep things on an even keel, avoid anything from flaring up till the general election is over.

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