Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj speaks in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Image: PTI)

India Cancels Meeting With Rival Pakistan Over Police Deaths

(Bloomberg) -- India has abruptly canceled a planned meeting with Pakistan amid fresh violence in the disputed region of Kashmir, dashing hopes of a resumption of peace talks with the new administration in Islamabad.

Just one day after India’s foreign ministry agreed to a Pakistani request for the two nations’ foreign ministers to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the Indian government said on Friday it had to cancel the meeting. New Delhi blamed the "brutal" killing of Indian security personnel in Kashmir on "Pakistan-based entities" and implied that newly-elected Pakistani premier Imran Khan’s victory night message of peace was not genuine.

"The evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been revealed to the world," the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement sent via text message. "Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless."

The move came amid news reports in India that three policeman in Kashmir had been killed after being abducted several weeks ago.

The last attempt at talks between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors came in December 2015, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to then-Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif in Lahore. The two nations later called off bilateral talks after attacks on Indian military bases that Indian officials blamed on Pakistani militants.

India has long said it is open to peace talks if Pakistan stops its covert support for groups that strike inside India. The U.S. has also called on Islamabad to end support for terrorist groups. Pakistan has consistently denied that it supports such groups.

The South Asian nations have had tense ties since the partition of British India in 1947. The main point of contention is Kashmir, where Indian and Pakistani troops still trade fire across a disputed border.

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