Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Pakistan said on Monday that the decision of Narendra Modi government to call off secretary-level talks between the two countries was a setback to the efforts by their leadership to promote good neighbourly relations with India.
Reacting to the developments today, a press release of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan said, “The Indian decision is a setback to the efforts by our leadership to promote good neighbourly relations with India.”
It also said, “It is a long-standing practice that, prior to Pakistan-India talks, meetings with Kashmiri leaders are held to facilitate meaningful discussions on the issue of Kashmir.”
“The Prime Minister of Pakistan has clearly articulated the vision of peace for development. It was in this spirit that he accepted the invitation of the Indian Prime Minister to attend his inaugural ceremony,” it added.
Following is the full text of the release by Pakistan -
Reaction to cancellation of FS level talks by India:
Our High Commissioner in India has been informed by the Ministry of External Affairs that the Government of India, taking exception to the High Commissioner’s meetings with Kashmiri leaders, has decided to call off the Foreign Secretary level talks scheduled for 25th August, 2014 in Islamabad.
It is a long-standing practice that, prior to Pakistan-India talks, meetings with Kashmiri leaders are held to facilitate meaningful discussions on the issue of Kashmir.
The Indian decision is a setback to the efforts by our leadership to promote good neighbourly relations with India. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has clearly articulated the vision of peace for development. It was in this spirit that he accepted the invitation of the Indian Prime Minister to attend his inaugural ceremony. The meeting between the two Foreign Secretaries was scheduled at the directive of the two Prime Ministers.
Angered by Pakistan`s consultations with Kashmiri separatists, India today called off next week`s talks between Foreign Secretaries, telling it bluntly to choose between an Indo-Pak dialogue or hobnobbing with the separatists.
In a dramatic setback to efforts to resume the stalled bilateral dialogue, India cancelled the talks scheduled to be held in Islamabad on August 25, raising strong objections to consultations held with separatist Hurriyat leaders by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit, PTI reported.
Shortly before the first of the separatist leaders Shabir Shah drove into the Pakistan mission here, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh telephoned Basit and told him "in clear and unambiguous terms that Pakistan`s continued efforts to interfere in India`s internal affairs were unacceptable.
"It was underlined that the Pakistani 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," official Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
Officials said Singh, who was to reach Islamabad on August 24, told the High Commissioner that "you can have dialogue with India or separatists."
With PTI inputs