New Delhi: India on Thursday responded favourably to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s request seeking a meeting. India said that both the countries’ foreign ministers, Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, will meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. However, sending out confusing signals, the Ministry of External Affairs also said that India’s nod to the meeting should not be considered as a change in their policy towards Pakistan. It added that it did not mean resuming of dialogue.
Soon after, there were voices of protest from the Opposition over India’s decision, especially among the Opposition, as this comes close on the heels of Border Security Force (BSF) Head Constable Narinder Kumar’s brutal killing by Pakistani Rangers. In a related development, it is being said that a helicopter was also spotted close to the border of both the countries just before the attack on Kumar. The chopper reportedly hovered in the air for sometime before heading back. What is interesting is that even as India agreed to the meeting, it has warned Pakistan of severe consequences following the attack on the BSF soldier.
The BSF has also registered its protest with Pakistan over the killing of its soldier and subsequent mutilation of his body. The force has reportedly warned the neighbours that Pakistan will be responsible for any consequence arising out of the incident. Pakistan has denied that any shot was fired from its side and blamed the BSF instead for killing its own soldier. Kumar had multiple bullet wounds and his throat was slit.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also asked the BSF to avenge Singh’s killing. This was conveyed to the BSF top brass, said reports. Singh told the DG that the strongest action possible should be taken against the Pakistani troops involved in Tuesday’s incident, a home ministry official privy to the development said. A high alert has been sounded for all formations along the 192-km-long International Border and the 740-km LoC, which is manned by the Army.
Earlier today reports had surfaced that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 14, seeking resumption of dialogue between the two countries. Khan has sought a meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mehmood Qureshi – the foreign ministers of the two countries – on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York later this month. Khan’s letter was in response to PM Modi’s communication with the former seeking a meaning and constructive engagement between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Chinese Consul General Ma Zhanwu has said that the country had good relations with both Pakistan and India and so, was upbeat about the development. He added, “We certainly believe and hope that the two countries can settle their differences through dialogue.”