New Delhi, Aug 18: India on Monday called off the foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan scheduled for Aug 25 after the latter’s high commissioner Abdul Basit held talks with separatist Kashmiri leaders here. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the talks have been called off as “no useful purpose will be served” by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh’s visit to Islamabad.
“Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh’s visit to Islamabad for talks on Aug 25 stands cancelled,” he said. He added that Pakistan’s interference in India’s internal matters, which “continued unabated”, was unacceptable. “It was underlined that Pakistan high commissioner’s meeting with the so-called leaders of the Hurriyat undermined constructive diplomatic engagement initiated by the prime minister (Narendra Modi) on his very first day in office,” Akbaruddin said.
“Indian foreign secretary, therefore, conveyed to the Pakistan high commissioner today (Monday) in clear, unambiguous terms that Pakistan’s continued efforts to interfere with India’s internal affairs were unacceptable,” he said. Pakistan can resolve issues with India only if it allows the bilateral dialogue to be guided by the Simla Agreement of 1972 and the Lahore Declaration, he added.
“The only path available to Pakistan is to resolve outstanding issues with peaceful, bilateral dialogue within the framework and principles of Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration,” Akbaruddin said.