India boycotts Pak's National Day

India boycotts PakIndia boycotts Pak’s National Day

New Delhi: India on Friday evening boycotted a reception at the Pakistan High Commission here to mark...

New Delhi: India on Friday evening boycotted a reception at the Pakistan High Commission here to mark Pakistan's National Day, objecting to invites extended to several separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir for the event.

The External Affairs Ministry (MEA) said no Indian representative will attend similar events in Islamabad as well. Over the years, India's representation at the annual event has been at the level of a Union minister. "India has decided not to send any representative to attend the Pakistan National Day celebrations on Friday.

This decision was taken after the Pakistan High Commission decided to invite representatives of the Hurriyat Conference to the reception," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar earlier said. Pakistani officials said no prominent Hurriyat Conference leader attended the reception. Pakistan Day is celebrated to mark the Lahore Resolution on March 23 each year.

At a media briefing, Kumar also said that India is very clear that any attempt by the Pakistani High Commission or Pakistani leadership to engage with the Hurriyat Conference will not be taken lightly. India has been strongly opposed to Pakistan engaging with separatist leaders of Jammu and Kashmir. "Our High Commission in Islamabad will also not be attending the reception there," Kumar said, replying to a question.

Sources said last week India conveyed to the Pakistan High Commission that it will not send any representative to the reception if Hurriyat leaders are invited to it. They said India is boycotting the events for extending invitation to Hurriyat leaders and not because of any other issue. In 2018, the reception at the Pakistan embassy was attended by Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Some low-ranking leaders from a number of separatist outfits from Kashmir also attended the reception.

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