India Calls Off Talks With Pakistan After Pakistani Envoy’s Meeting With Kashmiri Separatists

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New Delhi India has called off foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan scheduled for August 25.

The decision comes after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit engaged with Kashmiri separatist groups.

The Pakistan High Commission often holds talks with separatists, but the timing of Mr Basit’s invitation had not gone down well with the ruling BJP or the opposition Congress.

In a tweet, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “Pak High Comm feting separatists, Pak Army intruding across the border, ISI attacking Indian Consulate in Herat, BJP govt sleeps. Ache Din Agaye (Good times)”.

The decision to hold Foreign Secretary-level talks, with a new government in power in India, came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an unprecedented diplomatic move, invited Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif along with other South Asian leaders to his swearing-in ceremony.

PM Modi also took a sharp departure from Independence Day speeches by his predecessors by not mentioning Pakistan at all in his extempore address to the nation on August 15, Friday.

Three days before that, however, on a visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Modi had said that Pakistan, “has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism.”

Pakistani troops fired at 20 Indian posts along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday in a spike in violence ahead of the talks.

Pakistan Rangers targeted posts of the Border Security Force (BSF) in the Arnia and RS Pura sectors and unprovoked shelling continued through the night, forcing Indian soldiers to retaliate. In the last 24 hours, this is the third violation of the 2003 ceasefire between the two countries.

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