Zee Media Bureau/Deepak Nagpal
New Delhi: India on Monday cancelled the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan after the latter`s envoy here met Kashmiri separatist leaders ahead of the bilateral parleys.
The decision has cast a shadow on the likely meet between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in the United States next month.
Speculation is rife that PM Modi may not meet his Pakistani counterpart in the wake of the meeting between High Commissioner Abdul Basit and Hurriyat leaders, as well as continuing ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Foreign Secretary-level talks were to be held after a hiatus of two years. And the main focus of the talks was to finalise the agenda for the Modi-Sharif meet in September.
India has termed Pakistan`s engagement with Kashmiri separatist leaders and "the continued efforts to interfere" in its internal affairs as “unacceptable”.
Pakistan, in turn, described the decision as a "setback" to its efforts to promote good neighbourly relations.
"Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh`s visit to Islamabad for talks on August 25 stands cancelled," External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, adding that "no useful purpose will be served" by her visit.
"Indian Foreign Secretary conveyed to the Pakistan High Commissioner today, in clear and unambiguous terms, that Pakistan`s continued efforts to interfere in India`s internal affairs were unacceptable. It was underlined that the High Commissioner`s meetings with these so called leaders of the Hurriyat undermines the constructive diplomatic engagement initiated by Prime Minister Modi in May on his very first day in office," the spokesperson added.