India irked as Pak invites separatists to meet its NSA

India irked as Pak invites separatists to meet its NSA

 Islamabad’s move to invite Kashmiri separatist leaders to meet Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs and National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz in New Delhi on Sunday has annoyed India and could cast a shadow on the proposed meeting with Aziz’s counterpart Ajit Doval.

The High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi invited Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who head the hard-line and moderate factions of the Hurriyat Conference, respectively, for consultations with Aziz shortly after his arrival in New Delhi. Similar invitations were also sent to other separatist leaders of Kashmir.

Discussion on terror
Aziz is set to visit New Delhi to meet Doval and discuss “all issues connected to terrorism”, as agreed upon by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart M Nawaz Sharif during a meeting on the sideline of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s summit at Ufa in Russia on July 10.

Islamabad’s invitation to Kashmiri separatist leaders for consultations with Aziz ahead of his meetings with Doval irked New Delhi. Pakistan also referred to the issue of Kashmir once again in the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday.
 
The Modi government had strongly reacted to a similar move by Pakistan’s envoy to India, Abdul Basit, exactly a year ago and called off a proposed meeting between foreign secretaries of the two neighbouring countries. Thus, aborting a move to restart formal bilateral engagement that remained suspended since January 2013.

New Delhi, however, did not resort to any such drastic action on Wednesday, although senior officials said the government had kept “all options open” and would respond appropriately.

“Let’s see what happens. The government will respond appropriately,” an official involved with the preparations for the meeting the two NSAs told journalists in New Delhi.
 

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