Qureshi's charges against Krishna draw scorn in India
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, July 16: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's provocative remark today that External Affairs Minister S M Krishna constantly received directions from New Delhi during their talks drew scorn and condemnation in the country.
Qureshi's public comment, which appeared to question Krishna's authority, was also criticised for breach of protocol after he added another tense dimension to yesterday's talks which was billed as an initiative to build trust between the two neighbouring countries.
A visibly surprised Krishna, who like Qureshi also has a foreign law degree, himself said the dig by his counterpart was an "extraordinary statement to make" and asserted he did not take a call from anyone during the seven-hour parleys.
Senior BJP leader and former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said Qureshi does not deserve to be the foreign minister, not even a second secretary in the diplomatic mission, hours after the Pakistani minister's taunt against Krishna.
"It was a breach of protocol," he said.
Qureshi's remark came a day after he attacked Home Secretary G K Pillai a tense final press conference between the ministers last night.
Prem Shankar Jha, a political commentator, turned the tables on Qureshi saying that in Pakistan the civilian administration gets instructions from the Army.
Krishna, on his arrival from Islamabad, set the record straight describing Qureshi's remarks as "extraordinary" while countering the Pakistani leader's claim that he was constantly on telephone line with New Delhi during talks.
The External Affairs Minister said he was "totally cut-off" from India and never used the telephone.
"I have not talked to anybody. The mandate given to me was so precise, so clear, that it does not need any additional instructions from Delhi," he said.
But, he maintained, that even if he had used the telephone, in diplomacy it was not wrong in keeping touch with the base.
"Foreign Ministers are always in touch with their base, with the political leadership and governmental leadership. There is nothing wrong even if something has happened on these lines," he said.
Taking a dig at Krishna earlier in the day, Qureshi said that he did not step out of the talks to "attend any phone calls", but the "Indian Foreign Minister received foreign policy directions from New Delhi repeatedly during our meeting".
"I led Pakistan's team and I didn't need to make even a single phone call (to Pakistan leaders) during the day-long talks. Krishna is the principal for giving direction to foreign policy (but) why were directions being sent repeatedly from Delhi?".
"Who is the top foreign policy adviser for India?", Qureshi asked.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 16 Jul 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 16 Jul 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Jul 2010 00:00:00 IST
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