New Delhi, July 16 (Calcutta Tube) Amid the caustic exchanges between India and Pakistan a day after their foreign ministers met, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao Friday stressed that the India-Pakistan talks had not ‘collapsed’ and the dialogue process between them ‘must go on’.
Rao told CNN-IBN news channel that Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s critical remarks about External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had come as ‘a real surprise’ for India.
‘The comments (by Qureshi) came as a surprise, there was no real reason for the comments,’ the foreign secretary said.
Qureshi at a press conference in Islamabad took potshots at Krishna and launched a broadside against India’s what he called ‘selective focus on terror’. He even said the ‘Indian foreign minister received foreign policy directions from New Delhi repeatedly during our meeting’.
Rao also said that the ‘dialogue process must go on,’ adding ‘yesterday’s meeting has not ended in collapse’, referring to Thursday’s marathon talks between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan.
Asked how she maintained that the talks had not collapsed, Rao said that both sides had held talks, but did not make any announcements. ‘We did talk but did not announce anything.’
Asked if there had been expectations from the talks, she said: ‘There were some expectations, and we have a clear set of doables. Pakistan came to the talks with slightly different expectations. They wanted the entire spectrum discussed. We are not against resumption of dialogue, it has to start in a graduated way.’
Rao said India was very clear on ‘how the process should go forward’. ‘It is for Pakistan to introspect’, adding ‘we need to be dispassionate’.