Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif  (L) with Indian PM Narendra Modi
Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif (L) with Indian PM Narendra Modi.Reuters file

In an anticipated turn of events, India has called off foreign secretary level meeting with Pakistan set for next week, after the country's envoy engaged with Kashmiri separatist leaders.

The decision was taken after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit held talks with separatist leader Shabbir Shah on Monday.

Though it is a common practice for the Pakistani High Commission to hold talks with separatist groups, Basit's decision to do so before Pakistan's crucial meeting with India did not go down well with both the BJP government and the other parties.

Indian foreign secretary Sujatha Singh was supposed to meet her Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhury on 25 August but the talks have now been suspended.

"Pakistan's continued effort to interfere in India's internal affairs is unacceptable. It raises questions about Pakistan's sincerity and undermines the constructive diplomatic efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May," NDTV quoted foreign ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.

Several Indian political parties severely condemned the meeting between Basit and Shah.

The meeting was crucial as it came at a time when Pakistan forces had indulged in a string of ceasefire violations. On Sunday, Pakistani rangers fired on 20 Border Security Force (BSF) posts in the Jammu region, which left a villager injured.

Congress tersely hit out against the Modi government, stating that the Centre has no diplomatic plan in place.

"The BJP was vocal when it was in opposition but it is mute now. Pakistan invites separatists, their army intrudes across border, ISI attacks Indian consulate in Herat and the government is silent now," IBNLive quoted senior Congress leader Manish Tewari.

Meanwhile, BJD spokesperson Jay Panda said: "There has been attack on border. Whenever some talks take place between two countries to built good relation, I think they are not interested in it."

BJP leaders also criticised the move by the Pakistani envoy.

"It is most unfortunate that Pakistan chooses to dwell on creating impossible conditions when much more beneficial things can happen between the neighbours if they concentrate on the possible," India Today quoted BJP spokesman MJ Akbar.