In his first public reaction to the controversial conduct of the press conference following the India-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ talks on July 15, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that Pakistan’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi could have avoided handling it the way he did.
He also said he hoped Pakistan would honour its commitment to disallow its territory from being used for terror against India.
In a joint interaction with the press alongside his British counterpart David Cameron, who is visiting India and with whom he held talks on a range of issues, Singh appealed to the world community to urge Pakistan to tackle terrorism on the Indian border as seriously as it does on its western border.
"His (Qureshi’s) comments were too close to the event to pass judgement on the meeting. The way the press conference was handled by Pakistan foreign minister could have been avoided because it detracts from larger elements of the agreement reached,” Singh said.
Cameron, whose remarks on Wednesday urging Pakistan to stop exporting terror to India, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world, have raised a furore, refused to retract them. But he added: “The Pakistan government has taken steps, and it needs to take further steps to reduce terrorism in Afghanistan, India and the streets of London.”
Singh, in his opening remarks, said the two countries discussed Afghanistan and agreed that terrorism was the “single biggest threat” to the region. “We agreed to intensify cooperation in the area of countering terrorism,” he said, adding the talks were extremely productive.
In a visit Cameron claimed had made him “more enthusiastic” about his “special relationship” with India, the two sides agreed to take the relationship forward in several areas.