Sushma Swaraj leaves early from SAARC foreign minister meet at UNGA

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In a huge setback to bilateral talks, External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj left a meeting of the SAARC foreign ministers early, also attended by her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, PTI reported.

After making her statement, she left the meeting early, prompting criticism from Qureshi who later told reporters, “No I didn’t have any talk with her (Swaraj). On the positive gesture, I can say she left the meeting mid-way, may be she was not feeling well”.

Indian diplomatic sources told PTI that it was quite normal in a multilateral meeting to leave early after one has delivered the country’s statement.

The sources quoted by PTI said that Swaraj was not the first minister to leave the meeting as her counterparts from Afghanistan and Bangladesh had also left before her.

They added that Swaraj had other engagements as well and Foreign Secretary of India Vijay Gokhale was present throughout the SAARC meeting.

After India called off talks with Pakistan citing killing of a BSF personnel, killing of cops in Kashmir and ‘glorifying’ Burhan Wani by issuing postage stamps, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan called the move ‘arrogant and disappointing.’

In a statement issued by the Pakistan Foreign Office said that the reasons cited by the Indian side for the decision to cancel the foreign ministers’ meeting, within 24 hours of its public confirmation, are entirely unconvincing. 

Moreover India had also said that Pakistan has issued stamps glorifying slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani.

PDP President and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday reacting to the killings of policemen said that Government of India’s ‘muscular policy’ is clearly not working in the valley.

She also added that dialogue now seems to be a ‘distant dream’.

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