Aiming to stem the controversy over the inclusion of Balochistan in the India-Pakistan joint statement, Home Minister P Chidambaram has asserted that New Delhi has "nothing to do with Pakistan's internal affairs".
"We have nothing to do with Pakistan's internal problems, why should we get involved?" Chidamabaram told CNN-IBN in an interview.
He was replying to a question on the contentious move by India to allow a mention of "threats to Balochistan" in the joint statement which was issued after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt on July 16.
Although Pakistan has been accusing India of fomenting trouble in its resource-rich southwest province for decades, this is the first time Balochistan has found mention in a joint statement between the two countries.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and some experts have slammed the government for "conceding" to Pakistan on the Balochistan issue and have contended that its mention in the joint statement is tantamount to giving credibility to Pakistan's allegations.
Manmohan Singh has, however, defended the move saying the joint statement was merely taking cognizance of what Pakistan said at the Egypt talks and stressed that India was ready to discuss the issue as it has nothing to hide.
At a meeting with senior party leaders here Friday evening, Congress president Sonia Gandhi backed the prime minister on the issue.
A recent Pakistani media report claimed that Islamabad had given to New Delhi a "dossier" about India's involvement in Balochistan during talks at Sharm-el-Sheikh. Official sources in New Delhi have vehemently denied the sharing of any such dossier.
"Our hands are clean. We have nothing to hide," the sources said.
If Pakistan wants to bring up its "internal issue" in bilateral talks and internationalise Balochistan, India does not have any issue with it, the sources added.