External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has said the “bitterness” Pakistani counterpart c “injected” into the debate over Jammu and Kashmir was responsible for failure to hold bilateral talks.
Krishna was speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
However, in an interview with HT on the eve of his departure from New York, Krishna said he was “not disappointed” that the talks hadn’t taken place. He added that it was “good the bilateral talks did not take place now for the simple reason that things in Pakistan should settle down.”
India has been monitoring developments in Pakistan amidst speculation over the fate of the civilian government there. There is a sense that state of affairs may have contributed to the raised rhetoric by Pakistan foreign minister over Kashmir.
Krishna also appeared to point in that direction. “Pakistan is going through very trying times. Floods on one side, restlessness about the government per se, then the talk of a change of government. So, the creeping instability we see there, all these factors impact a government.”
He said if bilateral talks were held after the situation in Pakistan had “settled down” then the talks could be more “helpful”.
In fact, Qureshi had offered to return from Washington to hold talks with Krishna in New York but that offer was dismissed by the minister, especially since Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had already left the city on Wednesday.
He reiterated that India was willing to discuss “everything” with Pakistan including Kashmir and stressed that India’s stated position to engage in dialogue with Pakistan was “ongoing”. However, he said India did not “attach any conditions” to talks with Pakistan and expected a “certain reciprocity.”
He also dismissed as “speculation” reports that the US was offering to extend support to India’s bid for a permanent seat on United Nations Security Council in exchange for a resolution of Kashmir issue.