No controversy in Krishna disapproving timing of Pillai's remarks: Cong | delhi | Hindustan Times
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No controversy in Krishna disapproving timing of Pillai's remarks: Cong

delhi Updated: Jul 22, 2010 22:50 IST

PTI
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Congress on Thursday saw "no controversy" in External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's disapproval of the timing of the comments of Union Home Secretary G K Pillai on the eve of Indo-Pak foreign minister-level talks.

Asked about the timing of Pillai's remarks, party spokesperson Manish Tewari said the focus should be on the "grain rather than the chaff".

He said the substance of what India is trying to impress upon Pakistan is that terror and talks cannot go hand in hand and there is no difference of opinion in the country over this.

Tewari also dismissed suggestions that the appointment of a spokesperson in the Home Ministry amounts to gagging Pillai.

"I do not think appointment of a spokesperson gags any one," he categorically said.

Krishna on Wednesday said his visit to Islamabad was "underpinned" by the remarks, the timing of which was "very unfortunate."

Tewari said the party's prime objection was with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi equating Pillai with Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed.

"The real umbrage that India took was when they (Pakistan) compared Pillai to Saeed," the Congress leader said.

Dismissing talks of any differences between Home Ministry and Ministry for External Affairs, he said both ministries are on an equal page as far as dealings with Pakistan are concerned.

Tewari on Wednesday said, "If at all, the Minister of External Affairs has said something, it is for the government to respond to it, if it considers so essential."

Congress had earlier said there was nothing wrong in what Pillai had said and the Home Secretary had merely stated the factual position.

The party had also dismissed criticism of Krishna, asserting that he "fulfilled" the mandate on talks with his Pakistani counterpart and conducted himself with utmost dignity and restraint.

A party leader on the condition of anonymity, however, admitted that there is now a need to learn how to deal with Pakistan, both internally and in public space, during the negotiations.

On the remarks of Pillai and its timing, the party leader also recalled that the Home Secretary had made another statement saying Hyderabad will be the capital of Telangana when the agitation for the separate statehood was on the peak.

Another senior leader, who also declined to be identified, said that Pillai's remarks was against the protocol and he should not have spoken on the issue when the Cabinet Minister was in the neighbouring country to hold talks on the issue.

The Home Secretary (based on Pakistan-born terror operative David Hedley's interrogation) had said the ISI and Pak Army were involved in the Mumbai terror attacks.