New Delhi: The External Affairs Ministry today made it clear that there will be no bilateral meeting between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Pakistani leaders when he travels to Islamabad to attend the SAARC ministerial conference on August 4.
- Vikas Swarup said 'there will be no bilateral meetings with Pakistan'
- Rajnath Singh is expected to ask Pakistan to stop sponsoring terrorism
- His visit comes in the backdrop of growing strain in Indo-Pak ties
MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted, "Let me categorically state that @Home Minister of India is going for SAARC event. There will be no bilateral meetings with Pakistan."
The remarks come in the backdrop of reports quoting an unnamed Home Ministry official as saying that Mr Singh will have a bilateral meeting with his counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in contradiction to MEA's statement.
Mr Swarup had on Thursday clearly said that the Home Minister was going for a multilateral SAARC event and there will not be any bilateral meeting.
According to sources in the Home Ministry, Mr Singh is expected to bluntly ask Pakistan to stop sponsoring acts of terror in India and also raise the issue of slow pace of probe into the Pathankot airbase terror attack, which was carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad, and the trial into the Mumbai terror attack case.
Rajnath Singh's visit comes in the backdrop of growing strain in Indo-Pak ties after Pakistan and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made provocative statements on the Kashmir situation in the wake of terrorist Burhan Wani's killing on July 8. Burhan Wani was a wanted commander of the banned terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen.
Not only did Nawaz Sharif praise Burhan Wani but he also remarked that "Kashmir will one day become Pakistan", a comment which evoked a sharp reaction from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said his dream of the state becoming a part of his country "will not be realised even at the end of eternity".
Rajnath Singh will be accompanied by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and several other senior officers of the Home Ministry.