Domestic political, electoral compulsions behind India’s reluctance to talk to Pakistan: Qureshi

Srinagar: Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday said that India’s “domestic political and electoral compulsions” were behind New Delhi’s reluctance to talk to the new government in Islamabad.

India called off a meeting last week, between the foreign ministers of the two countries, citing the killings of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad releasing postage stamps “glorifying” slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani.

“Why are they reluctant? Simply politics, elections… they are scared of the electorate. They have swung the pendulum to such an extreme (that), now they’re finding it difficult to bring it back. And (with) the elections round the corner, they (Indian government) felt that it could boomerang,” Qureshi said in response to a question at an event organised by the Asia Society.

On Thursday also, Sushma Swaraj left a meeting of the SAARC foreign ministers early, which was attended by Qureshi.

Responding to a query about the incident, Qureshi said, “I wish we were going to smile at each other. But (I) could see the immense strain (on Swaraj’s face). And when she left, she wasn’t even willing to engage with the media… I could see the pressure, I could see the political (pressure) on her.”

“So, politics, nothing else, politics, domestic politics (made India reluctant to talk to Pakistan),” he said.

It was sad to see how “a regional forum (SAARC) had become hostage” to the needs of one nation, he added.

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