The battle of words between India and Pakistan hit a new low. Taking the battle directly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan took to Twitter to take a potshot at him over the cancellation of meeting between India and Pakistan. “Disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue,” he tweeted. “However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”
Disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue. However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 22, 2018
This rather personal attack came a day after India abruptly called off a meeting between the foreign ministers of both the countries in New York. In a strongly worded statement, India said Pakistan's “evil agenda” was exposed, with the “true face'' of Imran Khan revealed in “his first few months in office”.
The meeting was called off because of two “deeply disturbing developments”—the brutal killing of a BSF jawan by Pakistan, and the release of 20 postage stamps in July “glorifying” terrorist Burhan Wani. A statement issued by the spokesperson of the Pakistan foreign office dismissed these reasons as “entirely unconvincing”.
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“The so-called 'disturbing developments' alluded to in the Indian statement predated the Indian agreement to hold the bilateral meeting in New York,'' the statement said.
India, however, had made it clear that it was only a meeting. It was not a resumption of dialogue. Nor was it "talks".
India's sudden agreeing and the equally sudden cancelling of the meeting is mystifying. The expectations from the meeting were low. But with India also celebrating the second anniversary of the surgical strikes—the first time such an event has been held to publicly acknowledge a covert operation—it appears that the Union government is choosing to play to the galleries. With Lok Sabha elections due next year, it may be politically productive to reject the olive branch extended by Pakistan. Or so the Centre thinks.