'Choose either separatists or diplomacy': India calls off talks with Pak

New Delhi, Aug 18: The Indian government on Monday called off the secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled on August 25, saying Islamabad has to choose either between separatists or diplomacy while sealing with New Delhi.

India decided to take the stern step after Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit held talks with separatist Kashmiri leader Shabbir Shah here on Monday.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the scheduled talks have been called off as "no useful purpose will be served" by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh's visit to Islamabad. Sources saysaid Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, who was supposed to meet her Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhury, had warned Basit that "he can either have dialogue with India or separatists."

Moments after Shabir Shah walked out of the Pakistan High Commission and confirmed his meeting with Basit, India announced that the talks stand cancelled.

Defence experts in Pakistan said the decision will only harm India's interests and that New Delhi is not eager to give peace a chance in Kashmir.

Oneindia News

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