India advises Pakistan against Sartaj Aziz-Hurriyat Conference leaders meeting
A day after Islamabad announced that the country's national security advisor Sartaj Aziz will meet Hurriyat Conference leaders during the two-day meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSA) of the two countries in New Delhi, India has issued an advisory to Pakistan.
New Delhi: A day after Islamabad announced that the country's national security advisor Sartaj Aziz will meet Hurriyat Conference leaders during the two-day meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSA) of the two countries in New Delhi, India has issued an advisory to Pakistan.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted on Friday that India has advised Pakistan that it would not be appropriate for Aziz to meet with Hurriyat representatives in India.
In a clear message to the Pakistan High Commission, which has invited hardline Kashmir separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and others separatists, India said such a meeting would not be in keeping with the spirit and intent of the understanding reached at Ufa, Russia, to jointly work to combat terrorism.
We have also sought confirmn of our proposed agenda for the NSA level talks that was conveyed to the Pakistani side on 18 Aug 2015.
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) August 21, 2015
The two NSAs are scheduled to meet in New Delhi for talks on terrorism-related issues for the first time on August 23, as decided in a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif last month in Ufa.
The Hurriyat leaders have been invited to attend the reception on Sunday being hosted by Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit in honour of Aziz and his delegation.
During the NSA meet, Pakistan will raise all bilateral issues with India, including Kashmir, Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah had said yesterday.
Earlier on Thursday, senior Kashmiri separatist leaders were placed under house arrest in Srinagar ahead of their scheduled meeting with Aziz in New Delhi. They were, however, released within an hour.
The invitation by the Pakistan High Commission to Geelani and other separatist leaders, including Umar Farooq, on Sunday to meet Aziz has upset New Delhi but Pakistan has stuck to the line that such meetings were "routine".
Pakistan Foreign Office had said in Islamabad that consultations with Hurriyat leaders were a "routine matter" and a "long standing practice".
The Pakistani invitation, which is seen as yet another "provocation" by Indian side, comes after persistent ceasefire violations as well as two terror attacks in recent weeks in Gurdaspur and Udhampur which many observers see as Pakistani Army's opposition to any discussions with India.
Last year, India had unilaterally called off Foreign Secretary-level talks after the Pakistan High Commissioner here had held "consultations" with the Kashmiri separatist leaders on the eve of the FS-level meeting in Islamabad.
Significantly, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit had last week said his country will not "abandon" the Kashmiris' "legitimate struggle for freedom", stressing that to have normal and cooperative relationship with India it was necessary to settle the decades-old dispute.
(With PTI inputs)