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Pakistan’s Khan decries ‘arrogant’ India for cancelling rare meeting

India accuses Pakistan’s PM of harboring an ‘evil agenda’

SRINAGAR: In this file photo, Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers parade in Srinagar. Suspected rebels abducted and killed three policemen in Indian-administered Kashmir on September 21 as tension in the disputed region mounted ahead of civic polls. —AFP

ISLAMABAD: India’s decision to cancel rare talks with Islamabad was disappointing and “arrogant”, Imran Khan said yesterday, one day after New Delhi accused Pakistan’s prime minister of harboring an “evil agenda”. India pulled the plug on a meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart set for next week on the sidelines of a major UN conference, just one day after saying it would go ahead.

The foreign ministry in New Delhi blamed the about-face on recent actions that had revealed Pakistan’s “evil agenda” and the “true face” of Khan, who hit back on Twitter yesterday. “Disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue,” he wrote. “However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.” New Delhi said it cancelled the talks after the “latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities” and the recent release of a series of Pakistani postage stamps “glorifying a terrorist and terrorism”.

India did not specify which killings it was referring to in its statement, but earlier this week, an Indian border guard in the disputed territory of Kashmir was killed and his body mutilated. Three policemen were then found dead on Friday after being abducted in Indian-administered Kashmir. Pakistan also 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 the territory. 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.

In a statement from its foreign office, Pakistan said Friday it had “nothing to do with” the deaths, accusing India of spreading “motivated and malicious propaganda”. The meeting in New York between Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi-on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly debate-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 meeting would have been the first in nearly three years.- AFP

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