'Krishna misquoted, no change in Afghan policy' | delhi | Hindustan Times
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'Krishna misquoted, no change in Afghan policy'

India today clarified that the External Affairs Minister SM Krishna did not advocate a political settlement with Taliban, stressing that the country's Afghan policy had not changed direction.

delhi Updated: Sep 24, 2009 21:50 IST

India on Thursday clarified that the External Affairs Minister SM Krishna did not advocate a political settlement with Taliban, stressing that the country's Afghan policy had not changed direction.

The external affairs ministry spokesperson clarified on Thursday that there was "no change in India's policy towards Afghanistan".

"EAM has been misquoted in his interview with the Wall Street Journal and he did not say that there should be a political settlement with the Taliban," he said.

He noted that it was not India's position "that a political settlement be attempted with those who do not share these aims".

The spokesperson added that India wanted to strengthen the Afghanistan government in achieving its social and development goals, as well as in rebuilding its infrastructure.

"It is for the government of Afghanistan to take the initiatives necessary so that all those who abjure violence and extremism and accept Afghanistan's Constitution and democratic set-up, join the political process," he said.

The Wall Street Journal had quoted Krishna in an interview on Wednesday, as saying: "India doesn't believe that war can solve any problem and that applies to Afghanistan also. I think there could be a political settlement. I think we should strive towards that."

This remark was interpreted as a change in India's Afghan policy, advocating a more conciliatory approach towards the Taliban.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday flayed Krishna for his "utterly irresponsible comments".

"The most important question is about the objective of the Taliban itself, which stands as a gruesome reminder of torture, massacre, murder and brutal killing. Left to itself, it would go to any extent to dismember India," said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.

"Yet, Krishna without realising the consequence has commented. He, in fact, has made it a habit to speak out of turn without any proper homework and at a great cost to our strategic interest," he added.