Meeting between foreign ministers of India, Pakistan called off


Less than 24 hours after India announced a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York next week, India called off the meeting abruptly. India cited the brutal killings of security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, and the release of stamps by Pakistan "glorifying" terrorists as the reasons for cancelling the meeting.

"The latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of twenty postage stamps glorifying a terrorist and terrorism confirm that Pakistan will not mend its ways,'' a press release, issued by the ministry of external affairs, stated. "Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless,'' it said.

This meeting was going to be the first high-level interaction after the deep freeze that had settled in post the Pathankot and Uri attacks. With a new government in place, there was a hint that Pakistan would soften its position. Especially since both prime ministers talked about bettering relations. In a letter, Imran Khan wrote to Prime Minister Modi and suggested dialogues on both terrorism as well as Kashmir.

The reasons cited for cancelling the meeting are a little baffling. Both the incidents alluded to in the press release happened before the decision on the meeting was taken. The letter requesting for the meeting was handed over to Swaraj on September 17, and India agreed to the meeting only on September 20. The beheading had taken place on September 18, while the stamps glorifying Burhan Wani was issued on Kashmir Martyrs' Day on July 13.