Sushma to meet Pakistan’s Foreign Minister in NY

Sushma to meet Pakistan’s Foreign Minister in NY

India has called off next week's meeting between its foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, and her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi a day after confirming a meeting between the two in NY. Following the incident, opposition parties criticised the government and asked it to explain the rationale behind accepting such a meeting when Pakistan-based terror outfits are killing Indian security personnel along the border in J&K.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in a meeting with Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan assured that Pakistan would continue to extend its moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir in their struggle for right to self-determination.

Earlier today, news emerged that Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan has written a letter to PM Modi, seeking to re-start the bilateral talks on key issues "challenging the relationship" including on terrorism and Kashmir.

He said it seems that "India has priorities other than dialogue, adding there is a group in the New Delhi that doesn't want talks to take place".

The meeting of the foreign ministers would also be taking place after Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had stated that Indian army, just like their Pakistani counterparts, was also quietly "cutting off" heads of Pakistani soldiers.

On Thursday, the MEA spokesman had confirmed that Qureshi and Swaraj will meet on the sidelines of the UNGA in NY later this month. "The elections in India are near and it appears that internal politics have influenced the government".

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In the letter to Khan, Modi conveyed India s commitment to pursue "meaningful" and "constructive" engagement with Pakistan and emphasising the need to work for a terror-free South Asia.

The Express Tribune quoted Qureshi as saying that India has not responded positively to Pakistan's invitation for dialogue.

The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years following a spate of terror attacks in India by Pakistan-based terror groups.

The BJP, however, maintained that it has been the government's stand that talks and terror can not go together and asserted that the Indian Army will give Pakistan a befitting reply. "Talks are on to identify the topics of discussion during the meeting", said the spokesperson.

India has canceled a meeting with Pakistan over what it calls the "brutal" killing of three of its policemen on Friday morning.

India retaliated by carrying out "surgical strikes" in September 2016 across the Line of Control (LoC). Reacting to the government's decision, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said, "Better late than never".

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