NEW DELHI: India has decided to put on hold all bilateral exchanges with Pakistan in reaction to a military court’s verdict sentencing Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national accused of espionage, to death.
The Times of India (TOI) reported that the Indian government on Friday called off talks between the two neighbouring countries on maritime security which was scheduled to be held on April 17.
New Delhi officially told Pakistan that it was not ready to host a delegation from Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) which was likely to travel to India on Sunday, claimed the Indian newspaper.
“The Indian high commission in Islamabad has conveyed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the MSA-ICG meeting scheduled to be held in Delhi on (April) 17th has been postponed,” Pakistan High Commission Spokesperson Khawaja Maaz Tariq has also confirmed according to the TOI.
The Coast Guard interestingly seemed prepared for the talks as late as Friday morning. “The Coast Guard was awaiting PMSA’s “travel plan” for the April 17 talks,” Chief PRO told the TOI.
Both Pakistan and India had earlier approved dialogue between PMSA and the Indian Coast Guard in a bid to break the deadlock caused by a militant attack on an Indian military base in Uri in September last year.
PMSA’s visit to India would have been the first visit by any Pakistani security delegation after the attack.
According to the Indian Defence Ministry, it was not the time to discuss security with Pakistan when it had awarded the death sentence to Jadhav.
The Indian Coast Guard and PMSA had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2005 which envisaged collaboration between the two through an exchange of information on exclusive economic zone violations, apprehended vessels, marine pollution, natural disasters and calamities.
The agreement – extended for five years in 2016 – sought to combat illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs and piracy, smuggling and coordination in search and rescue, and return sea passage.
The only engagement that Pakistan and India have had until now this year has been the 113th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission talks for which an Indian delegation visited Islamabad in March this year.