India Pakistan talks cancelled
The prime ministers of India and Pakistan Narendra Modi and Nawaz SharifReuters

The proposed high-ranking talks between the national security advisers (NSA) of India and Pakistan have been called off, raising fresh tensions in the subcontinent.

Pakistan's foreign ministry decided against the Monday, 24 August, talks citing India's pre-conditions.

On the eve of the talks, India insisted that Pakistani officials should not meet Kashmiri separatist Hurriyat leaders. India also said only terror should be on the agenda while Pakistan demanded that other issues be discussed as well.

Kashmir has been at the centre of the bitter dispute between the nuclear-armed rivals for several decades.

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said: "It is Pakistan which has cancelled the talks and not India. Why didn't Pakistan raise the Kashmir issue in Ufa in Russia when the two Prime Ministers met last month? It was never an issue on the agenda."

Sartaj Aziz, the Pakistani prime minister's adviser on foreign affairs, said his country knew how to defend itself. "[Prime Minister Narendra] Modi's India acts as if they are a regional superpower; we are a nuclear-armed country and we know how to defend ourselves."

"We also have evidence of Indian agency RAW's involvement in fuelling terrorism in Pakistan. Propaganda against Pakistan is more important for the Indians, rather than giving us evidence," said Aziz, according to the Pakistani daily Dawn.

This is the second time such high-level talks have been called off since Modi took over the office.

The US has expressed concern over the stalemate. State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters: "We are disappointed the talks will not happen this weekend and encourage In­­dia and Pakistan to re­­sume formal dialogue soon. We were encouraged by the constructive interaction between the leaders of India and Pakistan earlier this year at Ufa, particularly the announcement of dialogue between the countries' national security advisers."