Government calls off meeting with Pakistan at UNGA: MEA Spokesperson

Sushma Swaraj,Pakistan,New York

India and Pakistan meeting at UN to end three-year freeze

India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistan counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi were to meet at the United Nation in NY next week.

"Even now after so many years, we don't have any official communication from Pakistani government that they are willing to consider this matter", Minister of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

Pakistan is slated to to host the SAARC Summit, but since Uri terror strike that killed 17 Indian army personnel in September 2016, New Delhi is leading the boycott of such a regional meet in Islamabad.

Raveesh Kumar said that the initiative has been taken over the killing of three policemen in occupied Kashmir as well as the release of postal stamps glorifying Kashmiri Mujahid Burhan Wani.

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India on Thursday accepted Pakistan's proposal for talks between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries on the sidelines of the ongoing annual UN General Assembly session in NY.

Though the Indian side readily accepted the offer, their external affairs ministry also clarified that "this is just a meeting, not talks or resumption of dialogue".

The meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries would have been the first such high-level engagement since the suspension of dialogue between the two nations after the Pathankot air base attack in 2016.

"I can confirm that on the request from the Pakistani side for a meeting between the two foreign ministers will take place on the sidelines of the UNGA at a mutually convenient date and time".

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The acceptance, however, faced a lot of flak as it comes a day after the killing of a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan along the International Border by Pakistan Rangers at sector level. "The letter from the Prime Minister of Pakistan had spoken of, inter alia, bringing a positive change and mutual desire for peace as also readiness to discuss terrorism".

India says the attack was carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammad, a militant group alleged to have close ties to Pakistan's military and intelligence apparatus.

Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi blamed Indian politics. India has maintained that talks and terror do not go hand in hand. The Permanent Missions of both India and Pakistan will together work out the details. Reacting to the government's decision, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said, "Better late than never".

"It is laughable to talk of government's Pakistan policy". "We are also ready to talk about the issue of terrorism, which is a global phenomenon, and calls for global and concerted action", he maintained.

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