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Joint statement not legal document: Tharoor

delhi Updated: Jul 23, 2009 16:19 IST

IANS
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The India-Pakistan joint statement issued in Egypt was a "diplomatic paper" not a legal document, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said on Thursday, reiterating that what mattered was "not the perception of words on paper" but the conduct of Islamabad in preventing future acts of terror.

"It is a diplomatic paper that is released to the press -- different from legal papers. Ultimately what matters is not the perception of words on paper, it is the conduct of government," Tharoor told reporters outside parliament on the statement released after a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

He said Manmohan Singh had made his stance on talks in the joint statement "very clear". "We have said that India cannot go for a composite dialogue with Pakistan, until and unless we have we have absolute assurances and we have seen credible action from Pakistan."

The minister added that "it is not the language of the statement alone that writes policy".

"It's all very well for the people to say that somehow India's interest compromised by few words on a piece of paper that is not a legal document. It is a diplomatic paper that is released to the press - different from the legal papers," said Tharoor.

Responding to reports in the Pakistani media that Gilani had handed a dossier containing proof of India's involvement in "subversive activities" in Pakistan to Manmohan Singh in Sharm el-Sheikh, Tharoor said he was unaware about it.

"I have not seen the dossier myself. If there is the dossier, then I am sure that the competent colleagues in my ministry are looking at it and when they have studied it, we will have a suitable response."

On the "preposterous charges" made in the Pakistani media report -- quoting official sources to suggest that India had a hand on the attack on Sri Lankan cricketers and a police academy on the outskirts of Lahore -- Tharoor said: "We don't believe that (putting) responsibility for things that are happening in a dysfunctional state to their neighbours who have conducted themselves very differently is a very healthy practice."

According to the minister, India did not "conduct our relations with neighbour as a zero sum game".

"We want to see a stable, prosperous Pakistan. We have no interest on anyway in destabilising Pakistan. Destabilising neighbours has been somebody else's policy, not ours."

Tharoor's colleague in the external affairs ministry Preneet Kaur also spoke on the issue and defended the reference to Balochistan in the joint statement.

"It was only mentioned that Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani voiced some concern that the PM said that he had no problem in addressing, since we had everything in an open book. And we certainly have not been doing anything (there)," she told reporters.

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