While Pakistan has provoked India ever since the day the talks were announced, on Thursday, Aug 20 witnessed high drama in which three separatists were placed under house arrest only to be released in flat 135 minutes.
The Indian government is debating on what action needs to be taken with Pakistan and the separatists not willing to relent on their meeting. One source informs OneIndia that India has told Pakistan not to meet with the Hurriyat leaders.
The advise has gone to Pakistan from the Ministry of External Affairs. One the other hand it is also being debated whether to call off the talks entirely.
Analysts watching the situation say that the separatists ought to have been ignored and India should have continued with its stand that it will not entertain the opinion of a third party in the talks between the NSA's of India and Pakistan, Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz.
Meeting after talks
Now that the separatists have been released, the Union Government is debating on whether to let them meet with the NSA. One view is that they would be arrested if they try and meet with the Pakistan's NSA in Delhi.
However, there are not many takers for this view as it could become the focus and the NSA level talks on the real issues may get diluted.
The other view is to ensure that the separatists meet with Sartaj Aziz only after he holds talks with Ajit Doval. We have advised Pakistan that meeting with the separatists is not in the right spirit, said an official in Delhi.
Another source informed that India may even cancel the talks if Pakistan continued to insist on the talks with the separatists.
Experts say that the talks must go on and the issue of separatists should not be given much preference. Insisting on the meeting of the separatists after the NSA level talks is the right thing to do. Calling off the talks is not the best decision as it would mean, India has just played into the hands of Pakistan.
Flip flop or stern message?
The Union Government has been trying to send a strong message across to both Pakistan and the Hurriyat that it does not approve of the meeting with the NSA.
India did manage to convey a strong message to Pakistan when it arrested the separatists yesterday, but due to the alleged intervention of Mehbooba Mufti Saeed, the daughter of Mufti Mohammad Saeed, J&K, Chief Minister, the release had to be executed in a matter of hours.
The union government is now firefighting on the issue. There are contradictory views on whether this drama of arrest and release has been a victory for the government or a loss of face. Sources in New Delhi say that the message has gone across to Pakistan.
There was no ground to go on with the house arrest. What is more important is that we have expressed our displeasure about the separatists talking with the Pakistan's NSA.