India cancels talks with Pakistan

Barely 24 hours after India agreed to talks with Pakistan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, the government reversed its position, saying a meeting between top diplomats in the current environment would be futile.A statement released on Friday by the Indian foreign ministry said the cancellation of talks followed the “latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of twenty postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism”.

Pakistan recently issued postage stamps of Burhan Wani, a young Kashmiri rebel commander killed by Indian troops in July 2016, whose death sparked a wave of violent protests in India-administered Kashmir.

“It is obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of [the] new Prime Minister of Pakistan has been revealed to [the] world in his first few months in the office,” the statement said.

While the Indian foreign ministry’s statement did not specify which killings it was referring to, a border guard in India-administered Kashmir was killed earlier this week, with New Delhi accusing Pakistani forces of mutilating his corpse.

Manoj Joshi, senior analyst at Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, said India should have factored in Pakistan’s frequent “provocations” before it agreed to resume talks.

“Now with the back-tracking, it seems New Delhi did not think through its options rigourously. There is a history of such provocations, whenever India and Pakistan announce or sit down to talk. So they should have been prepared for this,” Joshi told Al Jazeera.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi blamed Indian politics for the decision.

“Some elements don’t want resumption of talks between India and Pakistan. The elections in India are near and it appears that internal politics have influenced the government,” he told the local Samaa TV channel.An Indian general election is due by May.


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