NEW YORK - Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs, has said that a recent speech by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “crossed a red line” by opining on Pakistan’s internal issues that further strained relations between the two countries.

The Indian Prime Minister’s comments “could set back relations in a far more serious manner than anything that’s gone before,” he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

In his speech to mark India’s Independence Day on Monday, Modi claimed that people in Balochistan and Gilgit have thanked him for his stating that their human rights have been violated.

Pakistan has all along said that India was fanning turmoil in its insurgency-hit province of Balochistan.

Fatemi said that the Indian leader’s speech shows that Delhi is “in contact with militant elements” in Balochistan.

On Wednesday, the United Nations top human rights official called on India and Pakistan to allow UN observers access to both sides of Kashmir, “given grave concerns about recent allegations of serious human rights violations”.

The newspaper said there was no immediate response from New Delhi or Islamabad to the UN request.

More than 47 people have died and thousands more been injured in recent weeks in clashes between Indian security forces and protesters in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Indian has been making vain attempts to accuse Pakistan of fomenting trouble in Held Kashmir.

In the interview with WSJ, Fatemi said that Kashmir is an international dispute, whereas Balochistan is internal.

“We have never ever raised an issue in India which can be termed a domestic element of Indian politics,” he said.

“This adds a new twist which is far beyond the usual exchange of allegations and mutual recriminations.”

The newspaper said that Indian officials weren’t reachable on Wednesday night to respond to Fatemi’s comments.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has repeatedly said he wants to normalise relations with India.

Fatemi said that the combination of Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan and a strong nationalist leader in India had “created an opportunity that we rapidly appear to be losing” for a political settlement between the countries.