Congress President Sonia Gandhi sent out a firm message to Pakistan on Friday underscoring the fact that any dialogue to promote regional peace “must be based on accepted principles of civilised behavior”, even as she said that India would never compromise its vigil on its borders.

Days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, following the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers on the Line of Control, said that it could not be business as usual with Pakistan, and in the wake of the Bharatiya Janata Party seeking to use the episode to corner the government, Ms Gandhi used the platform of the Congress chintan shivir to address the issue.

“Better and closer relations with our immediate neighbours will not only make for regional peace,” she said, “they will also have a positive impact on some of our border states.”

Meanwhile, Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, on the margins of the shivir, in response to a question, told journalists that Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s offer to discuss “all” concerns related to the LoC was a “positive indication, good indication”. But India would wait for a formal proposal before responding formally.

He also urged the press not use words like “softening and hardening [of stand].” There was a “positive content in some of the statements that have come from both the [Pakistani] Foreign Minister and the High Commissioner [in Delhi]”, he said, adding that “the positive content in it is welcome and it should beget an appropriate response from our side.”

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