India Skips Pakistan National Day Event in New Delhi


New Delhi: India will not be sending any official for Pakistan National Day event in New Delhi on Friday. The move came after Pakistan High Commission extended an invite to separatist leaders from Kashmir including the Hurriyat. Traditionally, an Indian minister visits Pakistan National Day event. While the day is celebrated on March 23, the Pakistan High Commission decided to hold the event on March 22 this year.

“Government of India has decided not to send any official representative to the Pakistan National Day event at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. The government decided against sending any representative because Pakistan has decided to invite J&K separatist leaders to the event,” news agency ANI reported citing government sources.

While the dialogue between India and Pakistan remains suspended in light of the recent Pulwama attack, India, in the past, has followed the practice of sending one minister to attend the Pakistan National Day event. While Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh had attended the event in 2015, Union Minister Prakash Javdekar was present in 2016. In 2017, then MoS External Affairs MJ Akbar attended the celebrations, while, in 2018, MoS Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat represented India at the event.

This is thus, the first time that the ruling NDA government has snubbed Pakistan on its National Day celebrations. The latest stance from New Delhi also comes on the backdrop of the recent Pulwama attack which resulted in the death of 40 CRPF personnel.

This was followed by an escalation of tension between New Delhi and Islamabad. While India carried out air strikes at Balakot in Pakistan striking the Jaish e Mohammed camps inside Pakistan territory, Pakistan retaliated a day later and targetted military installations in India.