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Yashwant for tough act against Pak

Delhi has misunderstood Pakistan's real intention regarding terrorism, he said.

india Updated: May 29, 2006 15:30 IST

Asking the Congress-led UPA Government to act tough against Pakistan, former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said New Delhi has "misunderstood" Islamabad's real intention regarding cross-border terrorism.

"The Indian government should adopt a tough stand on terrorism during ongoing peace talks with Pakistan and should accord top priority to its relations with immediate neighbours as many of them are passing through serious situations which could have a direct impact on the country," Sinha told a BBC Hindi programme on Sunday night.

He asked the UPA government to adopt a tough stand on terrorism during the ongoing peace talks with Pakistan, adding, "We have made a mistake in understanding the real intention of Pakistan regarding the terrorism activities from its soil.

"Indian government should adopt a tough posture on terrorism, only then would we be able to force Pakistan to keep its commitment of January 6, 2004 regarding not allowing its soil to be used for terror activities".

Strongly advocating continuation of peace talks with Pakistan, the former External Affairs Minister said, "Both the countries would have to continue talks with each other. India should each time remind Pakistan about its commitment on terrorism and show the courage of continuity in talks. India should also try to bring Pakistan out of its oft-repeated words that talks should be Kashmir centric".

"If we can continue to talk with China despite having fought a war with it, then why not with Pakistan? Definitely, talks should go on, but we must place our views strongly and not indulge in sweet-talk".

Asked how should India proceed in talks in the present circumstances when Kashmir has seen escalation in violence, Sinha said, "we should clearly understand that on the one hand we have our relations with Pakistan and this includes talks on Kashmir issue, which should not have been internationalised, but now it is a reality.

"We have to avoid this situation. Indian government alone has the right to solve its internal matter, meaning talking to those who are outside the mainstream also in our state. In fact, we should question the locus-standi of Pakistan on Kashmir and ask them in which capacity do they talk abo ut the issue".

Criticising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent Srinagar roundtable conference, the senior BJP leader said, "It is not important to hold such high-profile type of talks. This time when the Prime Minister went to Srinagar, around that time many violent incidents took place leading to loss of lives of many innocent people in the state.

Demanding the immediate appointment of a full time External Affairs Minister of the country, Sinha said, "It is important for any government to have a full time External Affairs Minister."

First Published: May 29, 2006 10:48 IST