FS talks called off

Government of India called off the Foreign Secretary level talks slated for 25th of August in Islamabad. The reason is Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi inviting Kashmir separatists and secessionists a week ahead of the talks thus diluting their status and sanctity.
India took the initiative of opening high level official talks which had remained stalled for a long time during UPA Government. The credit goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who broke the ice.  His initiative of inviting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the occasion of oath taking ceremony in Delhi became the starter and both leaders agreed to carry the process further through official channels. This was a good beginning and there were chances that the freeze in relations would meet with thaw.
Nawaz Sharif, when on visit to Delhi, declined to meet with the Kashmir separatists leaders whether within the fold of various factions of Hurriyat or others who had made a formal request. Giving proof of his astute statesmanship Nawaz Sharif refrained from doing something which would not leave good taste in the mouth. Modi Government appreciated it and thought it a good beginning.
It is enigmatic why Pakistan deviated from that astute line of statesmanship and risked the impending foreign level bilateral talks by inviting Kashmir separatist leaders just one week ahead of the slated meeting of Foreign Secretaries. Yes, previously also the Hurriyatis and other separatists have been meeting with Pakistani envoys. That is true but two things have to be taken into account. First, the decision of holding Foreign Secretary level meeting had come off in different background, which could have been deviation from the beaten track. Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi should have made astute assessment of the situation in which the two Foreign Secretaries would be meeting. Secondly, Pakistani envoys and Ministers and Prime Minister, too, have been meeting with Kashmir separatist leaders in the past without any restriction. But Nawaz Sharif declined to meet with them on Indian soil. This should have become the guide line for the Pakistani mission in New Delhi. But why it chose to deviate from the careful path is what has made the Indian Foreign Ministry to call off the talks. When Indian Government assured that it would take the thread of relationship with  Pakistan where Prime Minister Vajpayee had left it, Pakistan Foreign Ministry should have given due value to this assertion.
The inference is that Pakistani Foreign Ministry does not want to come out of the stereotype and follow the path chartered by Pakistani Prime Minister during the previous two months of silent diplomacy on putting Indo-Pak relations on an even keel. The very fact that Narendra Modi had left behind the strategy of the UPA Government and taken the bold initiative speaks of his urge for normalizing relations with Pakistan. It was absolutely unnecessary for Pakistan embassy to put a spoke in the wheel of dialogue for which preparations were made on both sides.
The claim of Kashmir separatists and secessionists that India has no intention to resolve Kashmir dispute and that is what led to its calling off the talks is preposterous. Who took the initiative? Let them answer. Had they been really sincere in détente between the two countries, they should have politely declined the invitation of the Pakistani High Commissioner on the basis of the argument that since after a long time a prospect of normalizing bilateral relations had appeared, they would not do anything to derail the process. Unfortunately, myopic in vision as they are, they have accused India of something for which they are responsible themselves.
Yes Kashmiris are the stakeholders as is claimed by some of the separatist leaders. If by Kashmiris they mean the people of Jammu and Kashmir then one may ask them are not the people of Gilgit and Baltistan citizens of Kashmiri?  Why did not the Pakistani High Commissioner invite their leadership along with the Hurriyatis? Why did he not invite the representatives of the people of PoK who are also equal stakeholders in the dispute? Why did not he invite a delegation from elected representatives from Kashmir and why only those who are dead set against democratic process and not only reject it but do their utmost to obstruct the people of Kashmir from supporting and promoting democracy as the best form of Government.
India has been forced to call off Foreign Secretary level meeting. The public mood on the issue is reflected in the fact that almost all political parties including the opposition in the Parliament have welcomed the decision of calling off the meeting. The goodwill offered by the Indian leadership from the very beginning when it took office should not be taken for granted. India has to ensure that her interest are protected and defended. We have nothing to do with the internal situation in Pakistan which, by any means, is not very encouraging. But that does not mean that India, a responsible state, will try to seize upon the opportunity and indulge in unsubstantiated inimical stance by paying Pakistan back in the same coin. India is not a rogue State and the Government of India is answerable to the Parliament or the people of India. It has made clear to Pakistan that separatist leaders of Kashmir have no representative profile and that they are anti-democracy.
We are not interested in the internal crisis dogging Pakistan in more than one way. But we are certainly concerned with its ramifications that impinge upon our sovereignty and integrity. Pakistani border guards have been firing at and shelling many of our border security posts on the LoC line. We know that this is done in the background of her domestic crisis in which the Army is fighting the TTP against the wishes of the people. Disrupting peace on Indo-Pak border through firing and other acts of sabotage in the Valley are meant to lend indirect support to such forces as are resolved to remove Nawaz Sharif from the seat of power.
Whatever the contours of Pakistan’s internecine war, India cannot afford to lower the guard on her borders especially those that are vulnerable to enemy fire. She will take befitting steps to streamline the security and safety of her borders.


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