Economy

After Modi cites Balochistan, Pakistan invites India for talks on Kashmir

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 17, 2018

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Islamabad writes to Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar calling for discussions

With hours of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoking Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in his Independence Day speech, Pakistan Foreign Ministry invited India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar for discussions on unrest in Kashmir.

This also gathers significance as the Indian Prime Minister had earlier agreed to attend the SAARC Summit to be held in Pakistan in November. While Modi’s visit was seen as accepted when India-Pakistan ties were relatively on better terms, but now with changed circumstances there are question mark on the visit.

When Modi in his speech made reference to Balochistan, it was for the first time in the history of India-Pakistan ties that an Indian PM has spoken on Balochistan. The Prime Minister also hinted at the fact that in Pakistan “terrorism is being glorified” even as he spoke of the terror attack in a school in Peshawar.

No sooner had Modi spoken on Balochistan and PoK, Pakistan Foreign Ministry issued a letter to the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Gautam Bambawale stating that Kashmir remains “bone of contention” between both countries. It also invited the India’s Foreign Secretary to Islamabad for a high-level discussions based on the UN resolutions. However, it remains to be seen whether Jaishankar accepts the invitation to visit Pakistan.

“The letter highlights the international obligation of both the countries, India and Pakistan, to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions,” stated a Pakistan Foreign Ministry press release.

Tensions between both neighbours have been rising ever since terrorists attacked the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot that derailed the Foreign Secretary-level talks. This got further compounded with the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani that led to eruption in violence in Kashmir.

Adding to already detoriating situaiton was the statement made by Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said on August 14 during their Independence Day celebrations. He said, “Pakistan will continue extending its full diplomatic, political and moral support to the valiant people of Jammu & Kashmir till they get their right to self determination.”

In a parallel development, US has stated that Kashmir is India’s internal matter.

According to former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal, India should not pay heed to the invitation. He said by invoking Balochistan, PM has given a strong signal to Pakistan that India has the right to speak about human rights violation taking place in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“If Pakistan thinks it has the right to speak on Kashmir, then we also have the right to speak about the situation of people in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. This was right and necessary,” Sibal said.

Published on August 15, 2016

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