DISRUPTION OF COMMUNICATION WITH ISLAMABAD WOULD PLAY INTO MILITANTS’ HANDS, SAYS KHURSHID
By Mubasshir Mushtaq
NEW DELHI– In a bold and clear message to neighboring Pakistan, Indian Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid expressed optimism about the ongoing peace process and dialogue between the nuclear arch rivals.
“I think much as we feel upset and concerned and hurt by what is happening on the border and the Line of Control (LoC), I think we have to show some perseverance, some patience and some fortitude to ensure that we don’t play into the hands of the forces that want to create trouble,” Khurshid told reporters on his way back from Sri Lanka.
According to Indian army, some 35-40 militants have attempted to infiltrate from across the border in the Keran sector of the Indian-held Kashmir (IHK).
Indian Army Chief Bikram Singh said it was an infiltration bid by terrorists but suggested the complicity of the Pakistani army.
This is the second biggest infiltration attempt into India after the Kargil war of 1999.
Khurshid dismissed any suggestion of cutting off ties with Pakistan.
“We would be playing into their hands, if we cut off all avenues of communication with the elected government of Pakistan, that was elected on a clear mandate of better relations with India because during the campaign Mr. Nawaz Sharif had made that into a prominent issue,” he asserted.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is claimed by both Indian and Pakistan.
The two countries have fought three full-fledged wars since they were partitioned in 1947.
Two of the three wars – those of 1948 and 1965 – were fought over Kashmir.
Khurshid insisted, however, that his government has confidence in Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was elected in May 2013 on a “clear mandate” of better relations with India.
“Our Prime Minister has said there is no option in the dealing of countries with each other but to trust, but the trust must be matched with our readiness and our insistence on verification. You have to verify and trust,” he added.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly meetings.
Khurshid said the meeting came “because Sharif has given repeated indications of his desire to normalize the situation between India and Pakistan.”
He said India is aware about “elements in Pakistan” that are strictly against normalizing ties with India.
“We are still in the process of trying to find solutions. I don’t think we should get disappointed and give up soon.”