Wed, 17 Oct 2018
29
Singapore

NEW DELHI - India canceled on Friday a rare meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart scheduled to have taken place on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, only a day after announcing it would take place.

The Indian foreign ministry blamed the 'latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of twenty postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism.'

It added that the recent actions had revealed Pakistan's 'evil agenda' and the 'true face' of the country's new Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The statement did not specify which killings it was referring to, but earlier this week an Indian border guard in the disputed territory of Kashmir was killed and his body mutilated.

And on Friday three policemen were found dead after being abducted in Indian-administered Kashmir.

India has long accused Pakistan of arming rebel groups in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both.

Pakistan recently issued postage stamps of Burhan Wani, a charismatic Kashmiri militant commander killed by Indian troops in July 2016, whose death sparked a wave of violent protests in India.

The meeting in New York between Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan's Shah Mehmood Qureshi was only confirmed on Thursday.

It came after Khan wrote to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi calling for a resumption of talks between the nuclear-armed foes.

High-level talks between India and Pakistan are rare. Indian media described the slated meeting as the first in nearly three years.

'The decision to agree to Pakistan's proposal for a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in New York later this month was in response to the spirit reflected in the letters from the new Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan,' Friday's Indian statement said.

'The letter from the Prime Minister of Pakistan had spoken of ... bringing a positive change and mutual desire for peace as also readiness to discuss terrorism,' it added.

'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 in his first few months in office,' it said.

'Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless.'

Qureshi told Pakistan's ARY TV channel that he was 'surprised and disappointed.'

'We had given a positive signal and India too had hinted about negotiations,' he said.

'India has once again shown that it cares more about its own politics than regional peace and stability,' he added.

Asked if Pakistan will approach India again for negotiations, he said: 'No, we wanted negotiations in a dignified way.'

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