Union Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh tonight said he was asked by the government to represent it at the Pakistan National Day reception at the Pakistani High Commission here.
“The Government of India has to send an MoS. They sent me and I went there and came back,” he said replying to a question about his presence at the reception.
Asked specifically whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to attend the event at the Pakistani High Commission, he told reporters later on the sidelines of a function, “The Government of India asked me to go there.”
Singh, former Army Chief, attended the event where several Kashmiri separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yaseen Malik were also present.
The Minister’s visit to the Pakistani mission came on a day India and Pakistan sparred over Hurriyat leaders’ meeting Pakistani envoy Abdul Basit with government making it clear that there was no role for a third party.
Mirwaiz, Chairman of Hurriyat Conference, along with Abdul Gani Bhat, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Bilal Gani Lone, Aga Syed Hassan, Mussadiq Adil and Mukhtar Ahmad Waza had held talks with Basit last night.
Basit, who invited them to the Pakistan National Day celebrations, said that India was not against these interactions. However, India hit out, saying “the Government of India prefers to speak for itself".