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Call off Indo-Pak talks: BJP; Govt declines to speculate

Last Updated: Sunday, February 14, 2010 - 18:58

New Delhi/Islamabad: Government on Sunday faced
a strident demand from the BJP to call off the resumption of
Indo-Pak peace talks this month in the wake of the Pune terror
attack but it declined to speculate whether the blast will
have a bearing on the parleys this month-end.

The BJP said "terror and talks" cannot co-exist and
dubbed the Indian initiative to hold the Foreign Secretary
level talks in New Delhi on February 25 as "misconceived and

The Indian government on its part declined to speculate
on the fate of the the first talks since the Mumbai carnage in
November 2008 while Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
indicated his government still wants talks to go ahead.

"Terror and talks cannot co-exist. When terror threatens
India, `not talking` is a legitimate diplomatic option,"
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said in New
Delhi after a meeting of the BJP core group.

BJP asked the government not go ahead with
"misconceived and adventurist steps" like resuming dialogue
with Pakistan and rehabilitating militants returning from PoK.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna declined to
comment on the fate of the planned Indo-Pak talks.

"I do not wish to comment on the talks right now. Let us
wait for the report (of the investigative agencies) first",
Krishna told reporters in Chennai when asked whether the Pune
blast would have any impact on the talks.

Gilani while replying to a question about the talks said
in Islamabad, "Pakistan wants better relations and a
meaningful dialogue with India." He also denounced the blast
saying Pakistan condemned terrorism in all its "forms and

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram declined to be drawn
into the question of whether the bomb blast would have a
bearing on the talks.

"This matter (of Indo-Pak talks) will be considered in
New Delhi," Chidambaram said in Pune.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj
said BJP does not want the government to go ahead with the
Indo-Pak talks unless Islamabad takes concrete action in the
Mumbai case.

"The government in the past few days has announced some
misconceived and adventurist steps.....The BJP urges the
government to reconsider both these steps -- allowing persons
from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to return and resuming dialogue
with Pakistan," Jaitley said.

"As long as the terror infrastructure in Pakistan is not
dismantled and Pakistan does not stop sponsoring terror from
its soil, composite dialogue should not resume," Jaitley said.

"The whole nation is wondering today as to what has
changed that we decided to change our diplomatic position."

Union Minister and senior Congress leader Salman
Khursheed said, "People who want us divided (India and
Pakistan) are becoming desperate."

Khursheed, who is Minister of State for Corporate Affairs
and Minority Affairs, said that the fact that these forces
were failing was worrying them.

Terming the blast as an `unfortunate moment`, S M Krishna
said it was an indication that terrorists do not want `amity`
between nations.


First Published: Sunday, February 14, 2010 - 18:58

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