Nirupama Rao meets Pillai amid turf battle reports

New Delhi, July 23 (Calcutta Tube) With the opposition attacking alleged inter-ministerial differences over engagement with Islamabad, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has met Home Secretary G.K. Pillai to clear the air over his remarks on the alleged role of the Pakistani spy agency ISI in the 26/11 attack.

Rao met Pillai Thursday evening and told him in detail about Pakistan’s reaction to his remarks that figured at the July 15 talks between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said reliable sources.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram also tried to reach out to Krishna at a cabinet meeting Thursday, said the sources, amid efforts by government managers to project a coherent picture of the India-Pakistan talks.

The meeting came a day after Krishna went public in interviews to TV channels with his admonition of Pillai for his ‘ill-timed’ remarks on the on the eve of the foreign ministers’ talks.

Asked about Pakistan’s action against Hafiz Saeed, suspected mastermind of the Mumbai attack, Qureshi cited Pillai’s remarks to say that such comments were uncalled for as they vitiated the trust-building atmosphere sought to be created by the first foreign minister-level talks post 26/11.

Qureshi’s remarks further soured the atmosphere, with Krishna dismissing the comparison between Saeed and Pillai as ‘ridiculous’.

Krishna’s interview decrying the timing of Pillai’s remarks led to flak from the opposition.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday charged that Chidambaram and Krishna were not on the same page on the government policy towards Pakistan.

The BJP also hit out at Krishna for ticking off Pillai, saying he had only stated the facts about the involvement of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the Mumbai attack.

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