External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said Pakistan ‘spoiled the talks’ by talking to Hurriyat leaders just ahead of Foreign Secretaries of the two nations were scheduled to meet in Islamabad last month.
“New (Narendra Modi) government has given a new signal. So they (Pakistan) spoiled the talks, they spoiled the game,” Swaraj told Indian reporters here after her meeting with the IBSA Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the ongoing UN General Assembly session.
Swaraj was asked to comment on Pakistan’s National Security and Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz’s remarks that talks between the two countries can happen only if New Delhi takes the initiative since India was the one which cancelled the August 25 talks.
Swaraj said, “No question of first or second. As far as our reaction is concerned we have said repeatedly that if a reaction had to come it had to come at this time only. The initiative was there from our side,” she said.
She said it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had invited Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony.
During the bilateral meeting between the two prime ministers it was discussed that trade should start immediately at the Wagah-Attari border, said Swaraj.
She said Sharif had suggested that foreign secretaries should meet for bilateral talks and ‘we agreed to that’.
“But just as the talks are about to happen on the 25th (August), four days prior to that the (Pakistani envoy) is talking with Hurriyat leaders, then who spoiled the game,” she asked.
Aziz had also remarked that there was nothing new in Pakistani officials talking to Hurriyat leaders and such talks have been happening for the last 20 years.
Swaraj said as far as talks with Hurriyat leaders are concerned, the leaders who came from Pakistan used to talk with the group.
“But for the first time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to India and he did not talk to them because he understood India’s signal. Things began from there,” she said.
“But before any talks, the ambassador has met with the Hurriyat leaders, that has never happened,” Swaraj said.