Why India Called Off Meeting With Pakistan

Team SNI New Delhi, India 22 September 2018

Facing flak for calling off the India-Pak foreign ministers meeting in New York, the Indian government decided on this as it felt that the killings of three security personnel in J&K was a clear attempt by the Pakistani Army to scuttle any attempts towards normalisation of bilateral ties, SNI has learnt.

It’s understood that while the government had decided to respond to the Imran Khan government’s overtures by agreeing to the meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, its belief that the army remains in control in Pakistan was only reinforced with the killings.

No group has claimed responsibility for the killings but New Delhi suspects the hand of Pak-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohamed (JeM). This, it feels, is yet another instance of the Pak Army being behind the proxy war against India.

It also believes that the latest killings only go to show that the Imran Khan government remains under the army’s control. Earlier this week, Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh (retd) had attacked Imran Khan, saying if a person is propped up by the army, it is still the army that rules.

And the latest killings indicate that whenever there is a move towards a peace dialogue, the Pakistani military-intelligence combine ensures it’s scuttled.

On why the government then agreed to the meeting, SNI has learnt that it responded to feelers being sent by the Pakistani government after Imran Khan came to power last month. It’s believed that the Ministry of External Affairs sought directions from the PMO after which the latter gave the go-ahead for the foreign ministers meeting.

However, it’s learnt that there was no “dialogue” on the table when the two foreign ministers met and it was to be a courtesy meeting since both would be attending the SAARC foreign ministers meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. The fact that they would be meeting in a third country and not on Indian or Pakistani soil was also cited as a reason for the ministers to meet.

The government cancelled the foreign ministers meet on Friday, less than 24 hours after it had agreed for the same.

Responding in equal measure to the name-calling by the Indian government, Pak PM Imran Khan tweeted today: “ Disappointed at the arrogant and negative response by India to my call for the resumption of peace dialogue.”

He added caustically, “However, all my life, I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quereshi said: “there is no precedent of how diplomatic norms were trampled.” He also said it was an “opportunity” but “India’s domestic circumstances did not allow to materialise”.

While calling off the talks India had said that “the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of the New Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been revealed…”.

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