Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had called for the resumption of dialogue with India. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday denounced India's cancellation of a planned meeting between the countries' foreign ministers, calling the decision "arrogant" and decrying "small men occupying big offices" who oppose change.

India the day before called off the talks planned for the sidelines of the UN General Assembly later this month, which would have been the first high-level talks in years between the nuclear-armed neighbours and long-time foes. 

Indian External Affairs Ministers Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, were set to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next week; it would have marked a thaw in bilateral ties that have steadily grown colder.

The Indian government said on Friday that it cancelled talks with Pakistan following two "deeply disturbing" developments that led to Islamabad's "evil agenda" being exposed.

In one incident, terrorists abducted and gunned down three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir, marking a sharp escalation in militancy in the state. The group in question, says India, is backed by Pakistan.

Also, Islamabad had issued postage stamps in memory of Burhan Wani, a Hizbul Mujahideen leader who was shot dead by Indian security forces in July 2016, sparking widespread street protests.

Qureshi had called the development "unfortunate" and claimed that the decision was taken by New Delhi "under internal pressure". 

"The reasons cited by the Indian side for the decision to cancel the foreign ministers' meeting, within 24 hours of its public confirmation, are entirely unconvincing," the Pakistan Foreign Ministry had said in a statement.