India committed to peace: Khurshid

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

Thimpu, Jan 14: Notwithstanding Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh's tough talk on Pakistan on the recent ceasefire violations on the LoC, the government Monday said it will try its best to ensure that the peace process was not derailed.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who is here on a two-day official visit, said the assessments of what has happened can only be received from the army which is in control on the ground.
“So ultimately, we will have to go by their assessments. But the decision about how we proceed, at what pace, in what manner etc is obviously a decision that is taken by the government," the Minister told reporters here.
Khurshid added that the government was of the view that India had made an enormous investment into the peace process and would hence not want it get "derailed".
"When you make an enormous investment in the peace process, you don't do it just because it sounds good. You do it because there is objective and practical need for peace, because the cost of not having peace is much greater rather than the cost of investing in peace," he said.
He underlined, "Therefore, we are today still committed and trying the best that we can do to ensure that peace is not derailed, certainly not derailed beyond the extent to which we have seen it getting derailed".
His remarks came in response to questions regarding what the Army chief had said earlier in the day.
Talking tough over the January 8 incident in Mendhar area of Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said the beheading was "unacceptable" and "most unpardonable" and the troops would respond immediately, aggressively and offensively if provoked.
He said India reserves the right to retaliate at the "time and place" of its choosing.
Asked about today's flag meeting, Khurshid said the takeaway from it "was not something that we can immediately say is completely satisfactory".
He, however, said it is a good thing that it has taken place. "The idea of a flag meeting is that there is no first or the last flag meet. It is a process and I think that process has been restored. To expect something immediately is perhaps in unreasonable but if  we continue and sustain that process, hopefully we will get to where we want to go".
Khurshid said the beheading of an Indian soldier of very serious concern and this has been conveyed to the Government of Pakistan.
"Yes, we haven't have had a satisfactory response thus far but I don't think it is very sensible or useful to put timelines on an adequate response. We need to keep working and make sure that at the same time this does not become a cause for some irreversible damage to peace process," he said.
Asked about BJP's demand that India scale down its diplomatic engagement with Pakistan by recalling its High Commissioner, he said, "When the opposition says something, we listen to it very carefully and then continue to do what we have to do".

Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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