Our correspondent in India, Hu Bofeng, our reporter in Pakistan, Ding Xuezhen
Less than twenty four hours after easing of the climate in the India-Pakistan relationship, the two sides brought out into a war of words. According to the “Forum Express” of Pakistan of the 24th, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called on India the day before to stem its arrogant attitude, conduct peace talks with Pakistan and carry engage in trade cooperation. “We hope to develop friendship with India and want to end poverty in the subcontinent.” Imran Khan stressed that the Pakistani people will not succumb to the pressure of any big country. “If they threaten us, the all of Pakistan will unite. (And remain so) till the very end”.
The Times of India reported that Imran Khan had previously written to Indian Prime Minister Modi and suggested that the two Foreign Ministers meet during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. India agreed with the Pakistani proposal on the 20th, but announced cancellation of the Foreign Ministers’ meeting on the 21st. The Indian Foreign Ministry explained that the reversal was due to the killing of several security personnel in the Kashmir region and recent issuances of “glorification of terrorists” through release of commemorative stamps in Pakistan. In a strongly worded statement, the Indian Army Chief of Staff, Rawat, said that India would take drastic measures to counter the terrorists and barbaric Pakistani acts of killing Indian security personnel. In a response on the 21st, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry claimed that the Pakistani side had nothing to do with the killings of Indian security personnel and accused the Indian side of “spreading inflammatory and vicious remarks.” In his tweet of the 22nd, Imran Khan said that the arrogance of the Indian side was disappointing.
As to the reasons advanced by the Indian government for cancellation of the Foreign Minister’s meeting, The Hindu newspaper did not find them to be convincing because both events) had already occurred before the Indian government’s acceptance of the Pakistani proposal. The Indian media believes that the real reason for India’s cancel lation of the meeting was the issue of Kashmir being raised in a high-profile manner during the UN General Assembly in a bid to internationalize it yet again. The Pakistani side believes that the Indian side’s cancellation of the Foreign Ministers’ meeting was to avoid dialogue before elections to the Lower House of Parliament next year. Modi’s Bhartiya Janta Party has always adopted a hard line against Pakistan.
“India made another mistake”, Pakistan’s “Forum Express” averred in a statement of the 23rd, maintaining that India’s decision will hinder Pakistan’s efforts to improve relations between the two countries.” Pakistan’s “Dawn” said that India’s move had ruined hopes of an improvement in bilateral relations betwen the two countries.