'Meeting, Not a Dialogue': India Announces Meeting Between Swaraj and Pakistan’s Qureshi

Frederick Owens
September 21, 2018

Addressing a press conference, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "Time and again we have said that the atmosphere in the region is not conducive for this summit".

On Thursday, Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan requested the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan to hold a bilateral meeting in New York City.

India cited the "brutal" killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the release of postal stamps "glorifying" Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani for cancelling the meeting between Swaraj and Qureshi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in NY this month.

The meeting between Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in NY was scheduled after PM Khan proposed a meeting between the two ministers in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The meet was to take place later this month. There is no indication as yet whether Qureshi will host a reception for foreign ministers attending UNGA which in the past saw an Indian foreign minister attending one hosted by his Pakistani counterpart. "This does not indicate any change any policy as far as our policy on cross border terrorism is concerned", said Kumar. However, the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi said on Friday that since the announcement, two "deeply disturbing" developments had taken place that led India to call off the meeting. The body of head constable Narender Kumar was found in a mutilated state in Ramgarh sector.

"I can say this barbaric incident, which not only defies logic, defies civilized behaviour but also violates all global norms", he stated.

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BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said, "Has our BJP government chose to accept my advice not to talk or interact with Pak UN?"

"This is just a meeting, not talks or resumption of dialogue", the MEA spokesperson added.

The issue has become a political hot potato in Punjab, with Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu having tried to steal the thunder by raising it during his Pakistan visit. There is a history of such provocations, whenever India and Pakistan announce or sit down to talk.

"Even now, we have not received any official communication that the Pakistani government is willing to consider this matter".

In the letter, Mr. Khan also suggested that the two Foreign Ministers could discuss the holding of the SAARC summit in Islamabad, which has been delayed due to India's reluctance to join. A lot of other countries in the region too have felt that under the shadow of terrorism and cross-border terrorism, Saarc summit can not happen.

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