Srinagar, Aug 20(IANS) - Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday ridiculed…
NEW DELHI: The government has said just like other citizens of India, Hurriyat leaders are also not barred from meeting representatives of other countries. However, it clarified that there would be no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between the two countries.
In a written answer to Parliament last week, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh had stated that the government is aware of reports regarding the presence of ‘leaders’ of the Hurriyat and other Kashmiri separatist ‘leaders’ at the Pakistan High Commission on Pakistan’s National Day.
Singh said, “Since the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India and these so-called Kashmiri ‘leaders’ are Indian citizens, there is no bar on their meetings with representatives of any country in India.”
Singh, however, clarified that there could be no role of any third party in the bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan. “India has consistently maintained that there is no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan as per the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. India’s displeasure at Pakistan’s attempts to interfere in India’s internal affairs has been repeatedly conveyed to Pakistan,” Singh said.
According to a Times of India report, the Modi government had imposed a new precondition to talks with Pakistan in August 2014, cancelling foreign secretary talks on the argument that the Pakistani high commissioner had met Hurriyat leaders before the official talks.
The India- Pakistan dialogue process was also temporarily halted after the Pathankot attack and the Pak envoy to India, Abdul Basit had later said that talks have been suspended between the two countries. However, the recent meeting between Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary and his counterpart S Jaishankar on the sidelines of the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference has served as an ice-breaker in the on-off relationship between the two countries.