India wants Nawaz to keep his word on ties

Published May 30, 2013
Indian Foreign Affairs minister Salman Khurshid.—AFP Photo
Indian Foreign Affairs minister Salman Khurshid.—AFP Photo

NEW DELHI: India expects Pakistan’s incoming prime minister Nawaz Sharif to “convert into reality” the “positive signals” he had given during his election campaign, Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid has been quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

“There were many positive signals from Nawaz Sharif with relation to India during the election campaign. We hope that he will work towards converting these positive signals into reality upon assuming office,” Mr Khurshid told journalists on Wednesday.

Mr Sharif had told Indian correspondents during the election campaign that he would seek to fix responsibility for the Kargil fiasco and share with India any useful information on the Mumbai terror attack.

The minister parried a query about Mr Sharif’s reported decision to keep the sensitive portfolios of foreign and defence with himself, “a move that is being perceived as his attempt to bolster himself against the powerful army which had dethroned him in a bloodless coup more than a decade ago,” the PTI said.

“Prime ministers often tend to keep important portfolios with themselves if they perceive there is a need for the same,” Mr Khurshid said. “There have been instances when our prime minister too has taken a personal interest in a certain sphere and hence kept the concerned portfolio with himself for a period of time. Foreign policy is a field in which heads of governments across the world take a lot of interest,” he said.

In a lighter vein, the PTI said, Mr Khurshid was thrilled at the prospect of the opportunity of dealing with the Pakistani premier. “Though it is likely that on most of occasions he would be speaking directly to our PM.”

To a query, he said, “there have been complaints from people in various parts of the country that some relative of theirs was lodged in a Pakistani jail”.

“We take such complaints seriously and any such information is handed over to the India Pakistan Judicial Commission comprising two retired judges from each country. The commission has been empowered to visit jails in both countries and suggest remedial measures.”

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