India on Sunday said it wants the Pakistan Government to take responsibility for killing of five of its soldiers on the LoC and asserted that all issues will be factored in “objectively” in dealing with the neighbouring country.
Noting that Pakistan government will remain responsible for any such incidents, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said India has done a “lot more” to contribute to the peace process and insisted that the neighbouring country must take responsibility for the LoC incident.
“The responsibility must rest with the government. Our meeting point is the civilian elected government of Pakistan, not the Pakistan Army or any other agency,” he said.
Referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement on killing of five Indian soldiers, Mr. Khurshid rued that there was no indication of acceptance of responsibility for the attack.
“One element is that the regret about what has happened, which has certainly been mentioned. But, there is no indication of acceptance of responsibility.
“Whether I can expect or not, we have said that we expect responsibility. That hasn’t happened, one. Two, the other concern of what we have been expecting...culpability for what happened in Mumbai. There in no indication of that. And, finally, the statement doesn’t take into account, the outreach and the extra mile that India has periodically gone to overcome great difficulties posed,” Mr. Khurshid told Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate programme of CNN-IBN.
Asked whether he was looking forward for a meeting between Prime Ministers of the two countries on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next month, Mr. Khurshid did not give a direct reply.
“If Prime Minister of our country takes a position, it is fair that we let our Prime Minister take a position,” he said.
Asked whether the attack was an attempt to derail the talks between the two countries, he said there may be such possibility but added that it does not take the responsibility away from Pakistan Government for the incident.
“Like people in the know of relationship between India and Pakistan have suggested this and I think this is a plausible explanation but not an explanation that would take the responsibility away from the government of Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan will remain responsible for anything that happens,” Mr. Khurshid said.
“They may or may not have an issue with somebody in Pakistan on it but as far as we are concerned, they remain responsible. But the thesis is a plausible thesis,” he said.
Responding to a question on progress on bilateral ties, he said, “There cannot be a symmetry of assessment of what we’ve done or what they’ve done. I think we’ve done a lot more to contribute to the peace process.”
“I think these are Pakistan Prime Minister’s statement issues one need to reflect upon. These are issues we can’t give an immediate reaction but at least I have flagged them for you to say that we’d like to consider this, maybe something else will happen. Let’s just wait for the right time.”
On BJP’s criticism of the government’s handling of the killing of five Indian soldiers, he said, “We are a little clever than the BJP on this. BJP must understand that what they think is a moment of triumph for them over the government is actually a moment of lacking in glory, because it’s actually a moment that compromises what India should be doing.”
“We are not under pressure from the press or anybody else ...we’ll do what we think is correct thing to do for the nation. Having said that, a responsible government need to take into account every thing that happens, factor it in, look at its implications, analyse it and then objectively decide in national interest.”
On approaching Pakistan Army Chief Kayani on cross border issues, he said, it will be “wrong” for India go beyond the civilian government.
“Our policies need to be directly in association with the elected civilian government. I think it will be wrong for us to go beyond the civilian government, since we hold the civilian government responsible and representative of Pak people and they must answer. Something goes wrong, it’s their responsibility.”