Blaming Pakistan's 'evil agenda', India calls off talks (Second Lead)
New Delhi : Blaming Pakistan for the killing of security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir and accusing it of glorifying terrorism, India on Friday called off talks between the two foreign ministers. It said Islamabad's "evil agenda" stood exposed.
External Affairs Ministers Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi were set to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next week marking the first thaw in bilateral ties that have steadily deteriorated.
The Indian government said in a strongly-worded statement that since the announcement of the talks on Thursday, two "deeply disturbing" developments had taken place.
"The latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism confirmed that Pakistan will not mend its ways.
"Now, it is obvious that behind Pakistan's proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has been revealed to the world," Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
"Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless.
"In view of the changed situation, there will be no meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in New York," he said.
Pakistan has issued postage stamps in memory of Burhan Wani, a Hizbul Mujahideen leader who was shot dead by Indian security forces in July 2016, sparking widespread street protests.
And the announcement came on a day when terrorists abducted and gunned down three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir, marking a sharp escalation in militancy in the state which India says is backed by Pakistan.
The development comes 24 hours after the External Affairs Ministry announced that India had accepted Pakistan's request for a meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Qureshi.
India said on Friday that it agreed for the New York meeting in response to the spirit reflected in the letters from Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan as well as Qureshi.
"The letter had spoken of, inter alia, bringing a positive change and mutual desire for peace as also readiness to discuss terrorism."