PM Modi fumbled early test of leadership, says New York Times

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PM Modi fumbled, says New York Times
Bangalore, Aug 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi "fumbled an early test of leadership" by cancelling the secretary-level talks with Pakistan, said an editorial published in the New York Times on Tuesday. According to the editorial, the two South Asian neighbours, both of which are nuclear-armed, need to talk regularly to manage tensions in their relation. [Read the entire editorial here]

The Indian government called off the August 25 talks after Pakistani High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit invited separatist Kashmir leaders for talks on the territorial dispute. The national media lauded the step, describing it as a stern action by the Modi government but political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, which will go to the assembly poll later this year, said it was a disappointing reaction to a routine affair.

According to the US newspaper editorial: "Mr. Modi raised expectations that he would work harder at resolving cross-border differences when he took the unorthodox step of inviting Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, along with other regional leaders to his inauguration in May. The photo of the two men shaking hands came to symbolize the promise of that moment.

But that felicitous picture seemed a fading memory when, on Monday, India canceled foreign-secretary-level talks, which would have been the first in two years, that were scheduled to take place in Islamabad on Aug. 25. The proximate cause was India's anger over a meeting that Pakistan's ambassador to India held with a separatist leader from Kashmir, the disputed territory over which the two countries have fought three wars."

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