Debate: Pakistan shown the door - 1
Debate: Pakistan shown the door - 1
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In a debate moderated by TIMES NOW's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, panelists -- Maroof Raza, Strategic Affairs Analyst; Maj Gen (Retd) G D Bakshi, Editor, Indian Military Review; K C Singh, Former Secy, MEA; Air Vice Marshall (Retd) Abid Rao, Defence Analyst; Ahmed Raza Kasuri, Chief Co ordinator, All Pakistan Muslim League; and Major General ( Retd) Rashid Qureshi, Former Spokesperson to Musharraf -- discuss the issue of India calling off Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan, and whether this is India's strongest message ever to Pakistan.Taking a strong note of Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit's meeting with Kashmiri separatist leaders, India on Aug 18 called off the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled to be held in Islamabad on August 25 and conveyed to the neighbouring country that such things were "not acceptable". Shortly before the first of the separatist leaders Shabir Shah drove into the Pakistan mission in New Delhi, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh telephoned Basit and told him "in clear and unambiguous terms that Pakistan's continued efforts to interfere in Indias internal affairs were unacceptable. Since Basit went ahead with the meeting with Shah which was to be followed with consultations with other separatist leaders tomorrow, India announced cancellation of the talks agreed upon by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in May in a bid to break two-year-old stalemate in the bilateral dialogue process. The only path available to Pakistan is to resolve outstanding issues through a peaceful bilateral dialogue within the framework and principles of the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration, MEA Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said. "Therefore, under the present circumstances, it is felt that no useful purpose will be served by the Indian Foreign Secretary going to Islamabad next week." the Spokesperson added. Ahead of the talks in Islamabad, Basit had invited separatist leaders from Kashmir "for consultations" in New Delhi. Pakistan envoys had in the past too talked to separatists from Kashmir before any major diplomatic initiative with India. However, Islamabad broke from this practice when Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of PM Narendra Modi in May this year. Sharif was severely criticised in Pakistan for not meeting Kashmiri separatists. Meanwhile, defence experts opine that the spurt in ceasefire violations by Pakistani army along the LoC as an attempt to scuttle the Foreign Secretary-level talks between the two sides. There have been 48 ceasefire violations -- 11 since August 8 -- from across the border in 2014 and observers feel that these are part of Pakistan army's game plan to scuttle the talks. Separatists from Kashmir expressed surprise over India's decision to cancel the proposed Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan saying it was "unfortunate" and would only ensure that the stand-off between the two countries continued. Government's decision to call off Foreign Secretary-level talks with Pakistan evoked strong reactions from Congress which accused it of adopting "opaque and incoherent" foreign policy while BJP termed it as a "bold" move. Dismissing the Narendra Modi government's move as mere "theatrics", Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said it is sending "confusing" signals vis-a-vis India's polcy in dealing with Pakistan. He questioned PM Narendra Modi for agreeing to hold talks in the first place in the face of "constant provocation" from Pakistan.
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