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Heated exchange between PM and Advani

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) The Lok Sabha Wednesday witnessed a heated exchange between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and opposition leader L.K. Advani over ‘secret talks’ on the Kashmir issue and the implementation of the one-rank-one-pension scheme for defence personnel.

The prime minister attacked Advani for trying to create a ‘rift between service personnel’ and the government. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader had alleged that a promise made in the 2009 budget – on the one rank one pension scheme for ex-servicemen – had not been implemented completely.

‘Whatever I have promised, my government has done. Whatever the finance minister stated in the budget, it has been implemented,’ Manmohan Singh said.

Advani also referred to a Newsweek report, which quoted Indian and US sources as saying that India and Pakistan have restarted ‘secret back-channel talks’ over Kashmir, and asked the prime minister for an explanation.

The prime minister said: ‘How many times did Jaswantji (who was external affairs minister in the NDA government) talk with US government representatives? How many times you informed the house? Why are you expecting me to answer hypothetical

questions?’

He said there was no change in the US’ policy towards India.

The war of words took place during the motion of thanks on the president’s address.

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