Pillai remarks under-pinned talks: Krishna

SM Krishna ticked off Home Secy for spoiling atmosphere ahead of talks between Indian & Pak FM.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: External Affairs SM Krishna on Wednesday ticked off Home Secretary G.K. Pillai for spoiling the atmosphere ahead of the talks between the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers, saying it would have been wiser if he had not made his comments "on the eve of my visit".

Clearly unhappy with Pillai`s statement about the
involvement of ISI in Mumbai terror attacks, a day ahead of
his visit to Pakistan to hold talks, Krishna said if he was
the Home Secretary, he would not have spoken about the details
of the Pakistani-American David Headley revelations.

"When two foreign ministers are meeting after the Mumbai attack, there was a special significance for this meeting," he said.

"Everyone who was privy to whatever was happening in government of India ought to have known that the right kind of atmosphere from India`s side should have been created for the talks to go on in a very normal manner, but unfortunately this episode happened," he added.

On the eve of the talks, Pillai said in an interaction with the Indian Express that the interrogation of Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley revealed that Pakistan`s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) was involved in planning the Mumbai carnage "from beginning to end".

Krishna`s admonition of Pillai comes a day after the home ministry appointed a spokesperson to interact with the media and amid speculation that the US was unhappy with the way India went public with Headley`s disclosures.

After his talks with Krishna July 15, Qureshi had said at a joint press conference that the remarks by Pillai were "uncalled for" and unhelpful in normalising bilateral relations.

Qureshi said this in response to a journalist who asked him about the anti-India statements of Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attack, and what Pakistan was doing to curb them.

The next day, Krishna said in Delhi that there was no comparison between Saeed and Pillai.

Factually, Pillai was "very much in order" in speaking
about the disclosures made by Headley to FBI and Indian
interrogators but "the timing was something which was very
unfortunate," Krishna told PTI in an interview here.

The Minister disclosed that he discussed Pillai`s
comments with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whom he had
briefed on his parleys with his Pakistani counterpart S M
Qureshi and other leaders.

He insisted that the government was speaking in one voice
on Pakistan and said he was "glad" that Home Ministry has now
announced the appointment of a spokesperson. In recent months,
Pillai has been briefing the media.

Disagreeing with the perception that his discussion with
Qureshi had ended in a deadlock, Krishna said he was "quite
satisfied" with his visit which has bridged the trust deficit
"to some extent."

Rejecting suggestions that the outcome of his talks was a
setback to the overall dialogue process, the Minister said the
visit was a confidence building exercise and "to that extent,
we have succeeded".

Expressing his firm belief that India and Pakistan needed
to remain engaged, Krishna said there was no other

Responding to a question on BJP`s stand that India should
not talk to Pakistan now, the Minister said he had briefed the
BJP leaders before his visit to Islamabad and conveyed the
desirability of engaging Pakistan.

"There is no alternative. If somebody can come out with
an alternative, I can consider that."

Answering questions about Qureshi`s undiplomatic remarks
after the talks and if he was willing to ignore such
behaviour, Krishna said "I am willing to mind my business and
concentrate on my work."

However, he dismissed as "ridiculous" the comparison
sought to be drawn by Qureshi between JuD chief Hafiz Saeed`s
anti-India statement and Pillai`s remarks on ISI.

The Minister said the minute details of how the "whole
conspiracy of 26/11 was hatched and executed" showed the
"diabolical nature of the conspiracy".

The fact that these details had come out during
interrogation of Headley by FBI put much more onus on Pakistan
to act against the conspirators, he said.

The External Affairs Minister welcomed Qureshi`s
assurance that Pakistan would act on the leads provided by
Headley and would hasten the trial of those involved in the
Mumbai attack. "I am glad about it. That is expected from that
government (of Pakistan)."

Responding to a question on the perception that the first
session of his talks with Qureshi had gone off well, prompting
Indian officials to promise some good news, Krishna said he
was not "very sure" of the outcome of the meeting till the
last minute.

Krishna also criticized Qureshi`s style of diplomacy and for raking up India`s alleged role in fomenting insurgency in Pakistan`s resource-rich Balochistan province.

"We should understand the spirit of Thimphu and the spirit of Thimphu was to make earnest effort to bring about reconciliation between two countries and I do not want that spirit to be eroded even by a remotest possible way," he said.

"I think we can put forward any contention that a country can face in a most forceful way but there has to be dignity, there has to be civility and civility is certainly no weakness," he added.

Before Krishna left Islamabad July 16, Qureshi attacked India for "selectively" focusing on terror and sidelining what he said were other vital bilateral issues like Jammu and Kashmir.

Krishna said the issue of Balochistan -- where Islamabad accuses New Delhi of fomenting trouble -- never figured in the discussions and asserted that India had no reason to destabilize Pakistan.

-Agencies inputs