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Updated: January 30, 2010 02:15 IST

Krishna, Qureshi spar over 26/11 probe

PTI
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Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi during a photo session. The foreign ministers exchanged barbs over the progress of the 26/11 investigtion. File photo
PTI Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi during a photo session. The foreign ministers exchanged barbs over the progress of the 26/11 investigtion. File photo

The Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and India have sparred over the 26/11 Mumbai attack probe, with Shah Mehmood Qureshi accusing New Delhi of non-cooperation, prompting S.M. Krishna to ask the “people who are sitting in the epicentre of terror” to introspect before making such allegations.

“I have had a meeting with S.M. Krishna in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly [in September 2009]. I gave him a very crisp proposal, a road map for the future. He said he will get back to me but he has not got back to me. That means he has nothing to offer,” Mr. Qureshi said.

“It seems that the Indian polity is divided; India is confused,” he told journalists here on the sidelines of an international conference on Afghanistan.

Coming face-to-face on Thursday at the meet hosted by British Premier Gordon Brown, Mr. Krishna and Mr. Qureshi shook hands and exchanged pleasantries but did not have a separate meeting.

‘Dichotomy’

“India does not know whether it should engage or it should shy away,” Mr. Qureshi said. “Unfortunately there is a dichotomy here. What’s going on right now is that the public stance of the Indian Foreign Office is different. On the other hand, the private stance is that Pakistan’s cooperation has been unprecedented. They acknowledge the exchange of dossiers, the exchange of information that we have had...There is a lack of political agreement in India on foreign policy [towards Pakistan].”

Responding to Mr. Qureshi’s charges, Mr. Krishna said Pakistan should introspect before making such statements.

“People who are sitting in the epicentre of terror, I think they should look inwards and they should introspect,” he said.

“We met in New York and we had hoped that the investigations in Pakistan about the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks would continue based on the dossier that we have provided to Pakistan. We have not heard about the outcome of those investigations that have taken place,” he added.

On the issue of Afghanistan, the two Foreign Ministers differed on India’s role in the war-torn country.

“Afghanistan is a sovereign country and they can have their relation. We don’t have to tell them what to do and what not to do. But Afghanistan also realises that in the immediate future, countries that can be of immediate assistance to Afghanistan are the immediate neighbours,” Mr. Qureshi said.

In his remarks on the issue, Mr. Krishna asserted that “the welfare and well-being of Afghanistan is one of the top priorities of India’s foreign policy.”


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